Rather cool, even if we do all have our mouths open.  (Click to enlarge, or follow this link.)


Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, November 1, 2015 at 5:54 am | Edit
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Today's Beetle Bailey is for all our Swiss folks:


Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, October 17, 2015 at 4:27 pm | Edit
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Today's Dilbert is for all the bright students frustrated by teachers who insist that they show their work.


Don't overthink it; I just think the last panel is funny.

I know it's sometimes important to show the intermediate steps, and what I used to tell my students was that they didn't need to show their work, but that if they didn't, they wouldn't get any partial credit if their answer didn't agree with mine.  Too many teachers, however, don't understand that some students can no more explain the process by which they arrive at the correct answer to a math problem than a fluent reader can detail the steps by which he understands a paragraph.  "Showing your work" becomes a matter of reverse engineering, which is another skill altogether.

Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, October 11, 2015 at 2:52 pm | Edit
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I try to avoid clickbait—you know, the Internet equivalent of the TV news teaser, "World ends tonight, details at 11"—but this one on Facebook mentioned both "Basel, Switzerland" and "drum corps" in the subtitle, so I succumbed.  I was glad I did.  (Thanks, BJ.)

The Top Secret Drum Corps founded the now-famous Basel Tattoo in 2006.  I enjoyed watching the parade in 2010, though we didn't attend the Tattoo itself, being fully entertained by newborn Joseph.


Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, October 1, 2015 at 11:54 am | Edit
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I don't change my Facebook profile picture very often.  Nor my cover photo, as evidenced by the fact that the current one is missing two grandchildren.  In fact, I think I've only had three profile pictures since I joined Facebook in 2007.  For a long time I used a version of our Sursum Corda Academy shield, which you see on the left-hand side of the banner at the top of this page.  In 2014 I switched to this picture of Vivienne and Grandma swimming.


While I hate to replace that adorable moment, I think it's time I changed things up a little more often.  Plus, I not could resist this photo of, um, myself with my cup of tea and my handsome prince, sitting on a bench at one of our favorite places:  Leu Gardens, where we enjoy the flowers and others do all the work.  (You can click on the images to see larger versions.)


The sculpture is by J.A. Cobb, and was part of a very enjoyable Ribbet the Exhibit display back in February.

And I'm not the only one in the family with a frog doppelgänger.

alt Jon and Heather

alt Vivienne

As I was preparing the last photo for posting, it occurred to me that it resembles something other than our granddaughter.  Sure enough, I found this picture of Edgar Degas' Petite Danseuse de 14 Ans, from our trip to the St. Louis Art Museum.  That had looked familiar in its turn; there's also a version at the Musée d'Orsay, in almost the exact pose as my frog picture.  Now I don't know if it looked familiar in St. Louis because of the Orsay or Ribbit the Exhibit!

alt St. Louis       alt Paris (photo from the Musée d'Orsay website)

Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, September 27, 2015 at 1:40 pm | Edit
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It's not much of a post, I'll admit.  But I'm one short of my goal of writing at least ten posts per month, and this month ends in three minutes.  See previous post for why I'm writing at this hour.  No, I'm not a slave to that goal, but if I can do it, why not?  It's the perfect excuse to offer one of my favorite poems, by John Masefield

Laugh and Be Merry

Laugh and be merry, remember, better the world with a song,
Better the world with a blow in the teeth of a wrong.
Laugh, for the time is brief, a thread the length of a span.
Laugh and be proud to belong to the old proud pageant of man.

Laugh and be merry:  remember, in olden time,
God made Heaven and Earth for joy He took in a rime,
Made them, and filled them full with the strong red wine of His mirth,
The splendid joy of the stars:  the joy of the earth.

So we must laugh and drink from the deep blue cup of the sky,
Join the jubilant song of the great stars sweeping by,
Laugh, and battle, and work, and drink of the wine outpoured
In the dear green earth, the sign of the joy of the Lord.

Laugh and be merry together, like brothers akin,
Guesting awhile in the rooms of a beautiful inn,
Glad till the dancing stops, and the lilt of the music ends.
Laugh till the game is played; and be you merry, my friends.

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, August 31, 2015 at 11:57 pm | Edit
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A short (three-minute) video, just for fun.  Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Power of the Pentatonic Scale.  Enjoy.

Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, May 28, 2015 at 9:12 am | Edit
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If this video has you scratching your head, just ignore it.  It's a little tidbit for a few of my readers while I work on my next book review.  But the few ("the happy few") will smile, I think.

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, May 22, 2015 at 3:49 pm | Edit
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The latest product update e-mail just arrived from Twitter.  What am I do make of this?

We've launched Periscope, a live, interactive video app that lets you teleport anywhere with a tap.

Should I cancel my plane tickets to Switzerland?  I've been waiting for someone to develop teleportation, though I am surprised it comes with so little hype.

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, April 17, 2015 at 4:31 pm | Edit
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Daylight Saving Time.  DST.  In Europe, it's called by the more logical name of "Summer Time," but we in the United States need a different terminology, since we now begin DST well before winter is over.  Is that wishful thinking on someone's part?  "Spring ahead?  Just how far ahead did you move it???" ask our Northern friends.

Our Spring Ahead for 2015 is now history.  But for our European connections (and for the record) I'm posting my two favorite time change commentaries.  (H/T Tim H. and Laurie D.)  You've seen the first before, but the second is new.  It's not completely grandchild-friendly, and somewhat rude, but it's funny and nails the point.  What's odd to me is how many people think that DST is for the sake of farmers, whereas I remember from early childhood that the farmers hated it and resented it being forced on them by the "city folks."

alt (click to enlarge)


(link for those whose feedreaders strip off the video)

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, March 11, 2015 at 1:09 pm | Edit
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Mother Goose & Grimm isn't one of my favorite comics, but every once in a while they do something I really like.  Maybe this is only impressive to a select few, but my nephew is one of them, so....


Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, February 9, 2015 at 9:45 pm | Edit
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Are Grossmutti and Grossvater ready for guests from Florida?  Who knew there was a secret passage from Diagon Alley, Orlando to Basel-Land?


Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 at 6:22 pm | Edit
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It takes a rich, greedy capitalist to grind the poor into the dust, right?  Certainly over the years many have done a very good job of that.  Our recent viewing of the documentary, Queen Victoria's Empire, drove home the disastrous consequences of both imperialism in Africa and the Industrial Revolution back home in Britain.

However, the same video also revealed the devastation that can be wrought by someone with good intentions, even against his will (e.g. David Livingstone), and especially when combined with the above-mentioned greed (e.g. Cecil Rhodes).

Which brings me to the point.  I cannot count the hours and hours of struggle Porter has put into getting us health insurance in these post-retirement times.  Without a doubt, I am personally grateful for the choices the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) offers us, as much as I philosophically fear its negative consequences.  Some of those negative consequences are personal, too: e.g. the colonoscopies that had been covered by our insurance in the past no longer qualify for coverage because of new rules instituted by the ACA.  And we can't afford to get sick until after the end of January, because the "helpful" phone contact assigned us the wrong Primary Care Provider, and the fix won't go into effect till February 1.  However, I admit to no longer hoping for repeal of the ACA, because the damage has been done.  Too many people, including us, are now dependent on it.  I doubt we can put the genie back in the bottle.

While I freely acknowledge that the passage of the ACA had at its heart noble ideals and good intentions, I'm not convinced it's really helping the poor, or at least not as much as it's helping people who get rich off the needs of the poor.  Porter, being retired, has the time to put into navigating the complex and exceedingly frustrating waters.  He also has a degree in economics and a mind well-suited to financial calculations.  Which convinces me that the truly impoverished will (1) throw up their hands and settle for a much less than optimal health care plan, or (2) fall prey to those who would profit from doing the paperwork for them, while charging inordinate fees and still coming up with a less than optimal plan.

Nonetheless, the purpose of this post is neither to start a political discussion nor to depress you.  It's to honor my husband, for whom Sunday's Animal Crackers comic could have been created:


No doubt about it:  I married the right man.

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, January 19, 2015 at 7:56 am | Edit
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Thanks to Katie of Peace on Birth, I bring a simple smile to your day.  This is especially for those dear to us who are expecting their fourth child and live in a two-bedroom apartment, and for those who passed the family-of-six point quite a while ago.  :)  He's a little too hard on fathers, but you can tell he doesn't really mean it, just poking fun at himself to make a point.  I'd never heard of Jim Gaffigan, but that's a name I'll be alert to from now on.  There are some things he gets that few commedians do.  I do wish he'd stop with the singular use of "they," however.  I mean, he's talking about mothers.  I think he could use "she" without excluding anyone.

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, January 9, 2015 at 9:25 am | Edit
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You'd be shocked at the number of people who think our daughter and her family live in Sweden.  Just as homeschoolers know that they will inevitably and repeatedly be asked the S Question ("But what about socialization?"), the Swiss know that much of the world will always think they live in the land of IKEA, ABBA, and free health care.  Thus I was not surprised to see the following in an article on the Cooking Light website.

First Up: You'll love this Rösti Casserole with Baked Eggs. We have whittled down the calories in this traditional Swedish dish and added our own spin with Greek yogurt and artisan spices. This dish embodies the alluring qualities you'd expect from rösti—shredded potatoes that are cooked until browned and crisp on the edges. Serve with a colorful mixed greens salad.

At least the Swiss won't have to be annoyed at the alterations to their traditional dish—they can blame it on the Swedes.

Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, January 6, 2015 at 8:30 am | Edit
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