Enhanced e-books considered

A thoughtful discussion of the pros/cons of enhanced e-books for kids.  Laura Miller covers fiction in this article and will talk about non-fiction in her next.  I’m looking forward to that.

Thanks for sending me the link, Christina!

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 43,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 16 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Almost there

More on the bookshelf and cabinet project in my studio. This is the cabinet built by Rocky’s Woodworking.

Bird gods very angry

That’s the title of my entry for the bird house auction, which will benefit the Allegheny Valley Trails Association.  Here are samples from 2009.  Artists around here are asked to paint a wooden bird house, which will be displayed somewhere  around Franklin or Oil City and finally auctioned during May Mart (at least I think that’s what happens).

I came up with a few different rough ideas before settling on a Tiki hut theme.  Maybe that’s because I’m yearning for warm weather!


Here’s the answer to my last post, ‘Gen-Xer loves numbers duty’.  When I was teaching Sunday school at Third Church I thought it would be cute to draw some cartoons to help students memorize stuff—in this case, the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.  I couldn’t quite make it work.  Although ‘Gen-Xer’ was perfect for the first 2 books, my students were 12-16 years old so Generation X was ancient history for them and ‘Gen-Xer’ wasn’t any part of their language.  I tried another one with a character named General X, but the x’s on his uniform recalled swastikas and lent an unfortunate sinister quality to what ought to have been a light-hearted image.

Here’s another one to help remember the books by the major prophets: ‘Is Jeremiah’s lament easy dancing?’  I’ve drawn Jeremiah as a frog, but the Three Dog Night song is more ancient history.  Again, it kinda sorta works, but not well enough to pursue beyond a sketch.  The books are Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel and Daniel.

Gen-Xer loves numbers duty

What is this supposed to mean?

Here’s the answer.

7-Imp 2010 roundup

One of my favorite kid-lit blogs, Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, has a retrospective of all their posts for this year.

You will be humbled and inspired.

School for Santas

This is Santa Claus’ busiest week, and since there’s only one Santa, he can’t be everywhere at once.  So what’s up with all the Santas you see in department stores and malls?  Two words: Santa’s helpers.

These guys help out during the Christmas season by dressing as Santa and representing him while the big man’s busy back at the North Pole.  It’s not as easy as it sounds—to be good at it you need training.  Luckily, there is a place Santa’s helpers can go to learn their trade.

My art school chum Charles Bergeman told me about his grandfather, Charles W. Howard who founded the Santa School (click on the book, then on the upper-right corner of the book to turn the pages).  I had no idea this school existed and was so happy to learn about it I had to tell you.


Three miles—roughly the distance a person can walk in an hour.

As the sea-shanty Spanish Ladies tells it:

We’ll rant and we’ll roar, like true British sailors
We’ll rant and we’ll
roar across the salt seas
Until we reach soundings in the Channel of Old England
From Ushant to Scilly ’tis thirty-five leagues.

The islands of Ushant & Scilly mark either side of the English Channel if you enter it from the Atlantic Ocean.  Ushant is near France, Scilly near Great Britain.

Remember—September 19th is Talk Like A Pirate Day!