Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Book in Review – Freakonomics

Book Count: 34

Freakonomics By: Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
Non-Fiction: economics, life, misc. 204 pages 2005

As this book was a New York Times Bestseller you might already have seen or heard all about this book already. If not then the main idea of this book is to use data to find the hidden links between things and to see if common knowledge is really correct on different things. For example it looks at which is more of a threat to your kids: guns or pools and if your name has any effect on your life using collections of data and analyzing it. After reading this book I learned some interesting things and would recommend it to others. It was well written and included the data in a way that was not boring or dry.


As it is about one third threw the year and we are one third of our way to our goal we are back on track!!!!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Book in Review – TCIGT Homeschooling

Book Count: 33

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Homeschooling By: Marsha Ransom
Non-Fiction, parenting, education, legal 297 pages 2001

This book has useful information for homeschooling and teaching kids age 3 to 18. It also includes information on where to get up to date information and help online and threw local, state and national organizations and groups. It addresses the main issues and questions that people have about homeschooling including: legal requirements, socialization, how a homeschool is set up (including information on all the major methods used,) and where to get more information and/or meet others who homeschool. At the end of the book are pages of appendixes with where to go for more information on any topic. I found the book interesting as someone that might like to homeschool for preschool (although, in a mini brag the little one already is starting to understand most of the concepts an average learning based preschool would teach. J ) And would also find it useful if I was looking into homeschooling or doing teaching in addition to other schooling for older children where the subject matter and rules may be more complex. Also, although like most homeschoolers the author has a set of ideas for schooling she presents information on several of methods and reasons to homeschool in a mostly neutral way. (She does note that the “school at home” method doesn’t work as well in many cases and it is clear that she doesn’t like that method; however, she does point out that it is good for some types of learners and gives info on where to get programs and books on that method.)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Baby Reminder:

We just want to remind our friends that we will have a baby soon. First, so if when they get the anoccement and go, “I didn’t even remember that you were having a baby.” We can be like “didn’t you read our blog? We mentioned it multiple times. If you told me about a blog you have, I would read it, even if it was on something I didn’t care about.” And second, to let you know that sometime soon we may not post for a while as we will be in the hospital/ getting use to a new baby in the house and just too busy to do too much. And thirdly, yes we will have a party to see the baby about a month after it’s born like in the past.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Yes, We know

You may have noticed that we have been reading shorter, smaller books for the last few books. This wasn’t done only to increase our number of books. It was only after picking out a number of books that we noticed that a number of them were shorter. And so we decided that we would read them first to help with catching up on our reading. But we are also in the process of reading longer books like we normally do. And we only need to finish 2 of them this month to be back on schedule.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Book in Review – The Spy’s Guide: Office Espionage

Book Count: 32

The Spy’s Guide: Office Espionage, By: H. Keith Melton, Craig Piligian & Duane Swierczynski
Non-Fiction: science, espionage, humor 165 pages 2003

This book is written as a guide to office espionage using spying methods that were used by actual spies during the cold war. It is written by experts on spying and even has the forward written by an ex-KGB spy. Some of the information in the book could be useful even if you aren’t spying on your co-workers/competition. Some things require an additional note on how it is illegal to do on top of the first warning that some of the things in the book are not legal to do. Some things are perfectly legal.

Evil Post

This is our 666th post. As this post is there forth evil we will skip saying anything important in it.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A Book in Review – The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

Book Count: 31

The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster By: Bobby Henderson
Non-Fiction: politics, humor 166 pages 2006

This book is a little confusing. It starts out as a humorous book against intelligent design being taught as science, as it isn’t scientifically able to be tested. (Given as science cannot prove or disprove the existence of God.) It does this by pointing out that much like we can’t scientifically prove what caused evolution we can’t prove why gravity exists. The book’s answer: an invisible flying spaghetti monster that uses its noodley arms to push us down and who messes with test results to hide the truth of its existence from scientist. So far that all makes sense. (Really it does!) But then it becomes a book on the beliefs and practice of people who believe in the flying spaghetti monster, also known as Pastafarians. This part is funny and fun to read, but has little to do with the first part of the book, except in it’s use of science and math to prove the truths of the religion, such as the “scientific” proof that a lack of pirates is what causes global warming. (The flying spaghetti monster has a thing for pirates which is why it gets colder after “talk like a pirate day” [September] and Halloween [October], a day started by pirates according to Pastafarians, and a day people dress as pirates. The parts on why there are the increases of extreme storms due to global warming was actually “based” on how pirates sailing in the Caribbean effect ocean water temps and weather patterns.) It then ends with reconnecting to the first idea in a short two page letter to the reader.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Book in Review – How to Survive a Robot Uprising

Book Count: 30

How to Survive a Robot Uprising: Tips on Defending Yourself Against the Coming Rebellion, By: Daniel H. Wilson
Non-Fiction: science, military, pop culture 171 pages 2005

This book is written under the assumption that every sci-fi book, movie, TV show etc. is correct and one day robots will rise up and try to kill us all. It was written by some one that has degrees in robotics and who talked with experts in the field to find out what robots can do now and what we think they will be able to do in the future. This information was then used to show robots weaknesses and how one could survive if a killer robot was after you. Making this a book that is both informative and fun.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

New Books:

Does anyone else have the problem that I do, you get a new book and then you want to read it right away, but you have a dozen other books that were new books before that you were planning to read first? What do you do? Do you read the new book right away skipping all the books before in order to enjoy the joy of a new book, or do you add it to the list knowing you would never get to finish a book if you went from new book to new book?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Note to Self: The Joy of Work

Book Count: 29

The Joy of Work: Dilbert’s Guide to Finding Happiness at the Expense of Your Co-workers By: Scott Adams
Non-Fiction: humor 264 pages 1998

This book is all about having fun at work with out getting fired. It has a number of great office pranks in it. It was a fun read.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tax Day!!

Today is the day taxes are due all around America. So make sure they are in the mail/e-filed by tonight. (Unless the government is going to pay you back money, then they don't care when you file.)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Book in Review – The Truth with Jokes

Book Count: 28

The Truth with Jokes By: Al Franken
Non-Fiction: politics 307 pages 2005

This is a book about the 2004 election and the Bush administration as told by a liberal Democrat. First, I would like to say that I didn’t read this book because I thought I would agree or disagree with everything said. I on occasion like to read books of politics from both sides of the political spectrum just to see what they are thinking and why. And giving the way the current election is going, I thought it might be a timely read. That being said this book has lots of information on politics with lots of notes in the back showing where the information came from, but not a lot of jokes and many of the jokes are a lot cheesier then you would expect from a man who is also a comedian. The “Letter to My Grandchildren” at the end was funny, but only because it was written from a future where because the Democrats were elected into power, all the ills of society were fixed (in about 3 months). And even if they somehow got God to be their candidate for president that’s not going to happen, given free will and all. (Unless it caused the end of the world, but then the letter wouldn’t make any since anyway.)

Friday, April 11, 2008

A Book in Review – Even June Cleaver Would Forget the Juice Box

Book Count: 27

Even June Cleaver Would Forget the Juice Box, By: Ann Dunnewold, Ph.D.
Non-Fiction: Self-help, Parenting 285 pages 2007

This book is about not being one of those extreme parenting people who are obsessed with their kids and always pushing them in school or sports, setting up every moment of their day, and/or in some other way being overprotective and/or acting as if every action of the parent will determine the child’s whole life. It talks about why people act that way in this country, how ideas on parenting have changed through history and by culture and how unrealistic the idea of the perfect parent are. It then goes into how one can be a “perfectly good mother” using common sense, realistic expectations and thinking about what is truly important to you for your children’s’ future to raise kids. It was a well thought out, well reacurched, helpful and funny book on the subject of child rearing. It points out such things as although characters like June Cleaver are seen as the perfect model of a wife and mother the actress that played her left her own kids each day to be her and June didn’t do much of any actual parenting as she was too busy cleaning and cooking in high heals and pearls. Wally and the Beav were always playing on their own, doing there homework with out help and had to walk everywhere as she never drove them or even put them in any activities.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Book in Review – Weird U.S.

Book Count: 26

Weird U.S.: Your Travel Guide to America’s Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets By: Moran & Sceurman
Non-fiction: travel, odd, history, paranormal 344 pages 2005

First, this book has little in common with the TV show Weird U.S. hosted by the authors. It has mostly bits on ghosts, demons and other paranormal things. For places that you could actually go to it doesn’t include enough information to find most places that aren’t already famous or in an area you know. Information might include a city or general area, but it has no listing of detailed directions. Also I wonder how big some of these ledgens are. For example, it talks about a haunted road in the area that I grew up in. I had never even heard of this haunted road. I looked it up and found it on a map and it is a large road given that the town it is in is an intersection in the country, but still I never once heard anything about it being haunted even growing up with friends from that town. The only thing in our area that was known to be haunted was a convent that was haunted on the second floor. Which, of course no one used the second floor of (being only the nun’s bedrooms) and it was moved when the church connected with it expanded, so it wasn’t a big deal anyway as by the time I was a teen most people kind of forgot about it. (Also, it is not in the book or even in “Weird Michigan”, a book of the same vein only just about the state, as ghost of little old ladies that most likely died in their sleep aren’t that interesting. And having been inside the building [as the first floor was used until it was moved, as it had larger rooms that could be used by groups.] it’s not a spooky looking place either.)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Picking up

As you may have guessed giving the number of new book reports, we are out of our book reading slump! And all it took was a small change. A while ago we decided to look at a different branch of the library for some books and had half a dozen in 5 mins. (And then we got sick and didn’t do much of anything for a week.) But, once we felt better we were enjoying every free minute of reading we had. (Which, was less then normal, see not doing anything for a week [Stupid Dishes!!!] but still we are working on catching up on our reading. [Only 4-5 books behind now!])

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A Book in Review – I Like You

Book Count: 25

I Like You: Hospitality under the Influence By: Amy Sedaris
Non-fiction: how to, cooking, humor 299 pages 2006

One quarter of the way to 100!!!!
Anyway, about the book. This book was writing by the co creator/star of the show Strangers with Candy, so you would think that it is largely a humor book on throwing parties. But you would be wrong. This book has lots of good looking recipes and party ideas, factoids, and crafts mixed in with the humor. There are foods for all types of events including a large number of Greek recipes and tasty looking deserts and appetizers. It also has an informative section on rabbit care that you don’t get in most books on hospitality. The one downside to this book though, is that it is writing by someone that uses a less then detailed method of cooking, so some of the recipes are a little vague. (How much is “more flour then you think you’ll need”? a cup, a ton?)

Monday, April 07, 2008

A Book in Review – Evil Genius

Book Count: 24

Evil Genius, By: Catherine Jinks
Fiction: young adult, 486 pages 2005 8th grade reading level

First, this book has a shiny cover (soooo shiny!!!) And that is mainly why I read it. The book itself was actually good too. It starts long before the inside cover info makes it seam like it starts and some of the foreshadowing is a bit heavy, but it sucked you into the character’s world and it still had a lot of surprises. It’s about this young boy who was adopted and knows nothing about his real parents. His adopted parents aren’t that caring and added to that he is a genius who is lacking in social skills. He is put under the wing of a therapist to help him, but the therapist has plans for him using his abilities to become an evil genius.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Holidays in April

1 April Fools’ Day
6 Tartan Day
7 World Health Day
8 Buddha Day/ Hana Matsuri
15 Tax Day
19 Passover starts
Lazarus Saturday
20 4:20
22 Earth Day
23 Administrative pros Day
25 Arbor Day
Orthodox Holy Friday
27 Orthodox Easter
30 International Guide Dog Day

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Book Count: March

Number of books read: 5
Pages read: 1572
Average number of days to read a book: 6
Average number of pages read in a day: 51
Number of more books to read to reach goal: 77

Happy April Fool's Day!