Archive for December, 2012

From the Editor’s Perch

December 19, 2012

Editor’s Note:  Here’s your present.  Unwrap it carefully or with complete abandon.  I don’t care, because now I’m off for the Holidays!  Look for many new events to come in “Murders in Progress”, to resume in a week or so.

 scan0054

My Christmas Present to You:

 

If you are one of those people haunted by the impulse to make the ‘wrong’ or ‘inappropriate’ remark, then the Onion might be for you.  Or if you are a person who would just love to see the darker side of an issue represented at least to some extent, or baring that, just …hinted at – then the Onion might be for you.  Or, if you’re the sort of nasty person who just revels in satire, here again, the Onion might be just for you.  Or if you are looking for writers who can just voice the obvious reality in this politically correct day and age, without being tagged with a pink letter and marched off to that special place beyond the pale to be gassed later  (okay, a BIT of hyperbole) – then the Onion might be for you.

 

A (lefty) friend recently remarked, “You are a puzzle.  How can you love the Onion so, when they are so Left Wing?”

 

Well, there are a couple reasons.  Satire and sarcasm have perfected a style for promulgating the truth, which cannot be violated, even by the preferences of the writer themselves.  If a satirical piece doesn’t ring true; it doesn’t ring funny.  Match this to the Onion’s, very often, impeccable writing skills and you get this piece of masterful observation: http://www.theonion.com/articles/guys-with-boring-jobs-really-hitting-it-off-a-few,30724/

 

Also, watch how the Onion can do an end run around the political gristmill, and let a little air out of the leading stories otherwise too hot to touch: http://www.theonion.com/video/in-wake-of-tragedy-americans-demand-reform-of-ever,30762/

 

Plus, often it’s just damned funny about the personal day to day: http://www.theonion.com/articles/pan-left-to-soak-now-predates-all-current-roommate,30474/

Onion_8174068

Onion_8174068 (Photo credit: SoraZG)

 

So, pour yourself a rum and coke and take a break from the Christmas doings with the Onion.  It’s a vegetable; so it’s good for you.

 

Logo & photo lifted from the web by Carl Nelson

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Young Fiction

December 16, 2012

Editor’s Note:  Yeah, we chase the youth demographic, just like everybody else.

The author with his dog, Max.

The author with his dog, Max.

The Diamond Hunter

by Tin Tin Nelson

© Copyright 2012

 

I wake up the day before Christmas Eve and it is snowing. Everybody is going outside and having fun in snow. No one is home.   Mom, dad, my little brother and my little sister are went shopping for Christmas. Mom left two big waffle and a big sausage. It is pretty good. Mom is gonna be back about 3:30 because I have basketball practice today at 4:30-6:00.

Back from practice it is already 7:30. So I go to my room and lay on my bed. The next day I wake up and , “ It’s Christmas Eve”, I say to myself on the bed. That day is one of my favorite days because I get to go snowboarding with my best friend.  Then, after I come back it is already 8:30.

Mom says, “ Steve, go to bed! And no facebook, twitter, instagram. Okay?

Okay, “I say.

The next morning, I hear something that sounds like a puppy, and it sounds like something that comes from under my bed.  It is a dog.  I yell from upstairs, “Mom!! Whose dog is this?”

She says, “You didn’t fill out Christmas list.  So I had to get something. It’s yours!”

“Mom, I don’t want this.”

“You better get it. That’s what I got for you.” Mom says, “It’ll be alright sweetie.  Don’t worry.”

I’m like, “Okay. I’ll try.”

“What kind of dog is this?” I ask.

“Mom says, “I don’t know.”

“How the heck you don’t know what kind of dog is this?”

I try to be friendly with the dog because he is mine and I have to take care of him.  I name him Max.

The next morning I wake up at about 5:30.  Max is barking and makes me wake up.  He wants me to go walking with him. But I’m still pretty sleepy.  “I can’t go,” I say.  But I have to go because Max will get upset.

Two weeks later after winter break, I am walking to school and I leave Max outside.  Max tries to go after me.  School is about a five minute walk.  It is sunny and about 78 degrees.  It’s pretty weird that it is 78 degrees in winter.

Back from school, I find Max isn’t at home  I look around the house.  “There you are.”  He is in my parent’s bedroom.  The jewelry box is messed up.  But it seems like everything is fine in the house.  Mom is home.

“Hi honey.”  I run downstairs.  “How was school?” She asks.

“Pretty good.  Max tried to run after me.”

“Well.  Not good.”

“Yep.  Hey!  Can I take Max for a walk?”

“Yes.  You have done your homework.”

“Alright, thank you.”

I feed him a piece of baloney before I take him for a walk.  Dad just gets back, and it seems like he got a different car, that he told me he was going to get.  “What kind of car do you have?”

“A black and yellow Ford Mustang GT BOSS 302.  I like it better than Mom’s white Porsche.”

He got it from Pittsburg, the same town Wiz Khalifa is from!

About a month after Christmas the news is that three people are killed in town each day.  The police find out that it’s Aliens.  But one day, a lady isn’t killed, because she wears so much jewelry.  So I go back home every day after school and I go on my computer and research about it.  But it says Aliens are not real.  No one has ever seen an Alien before.

I research about it for 10 months and stop.  Also, I just find out my dog is a dachshund.  Because he has gotten very long!

Every day I go walk with Max.  It seems like he always wants to go under the bridge.  I don’t know why.  Maybe a dead animal’s body is there?  I don’t know why Max is upset about wanting to go there.  But I say, “No, you can’t go there.  It’s too dangerous, okay?  Alright we gotta go home now, okay?”

I go to school the next morning, and I feel ready to study.  Third period comes up and it’s Mr. Thompson’s class.  It’s science and I eat lunch afterwards every day.  But it seems like Mr. Thompson never goes to lunch.  It’s pretty weird that he is not eating his lunch.

One time I am at the grocery store and I see him getting tons of meat.  And I ask him, “What are you doing with all that meat?”

“To give to the zoo animals,” he says.

“That’s nice,” I say.

Back from school, Max is barking.  And I don’t know why.  And it is annoying me. I ask him, “Why?  What is the matter?”

Max says, “We  need to go under the bridge now, because the diamond is deposited under the bridge.  Before the aliens are all over town in 3 days.”

“You can talk,” I say.

“We need to get moving,” Max says.

“What should we do first?” I ask.

“Well, first go get a rope, knife, and dynamite.  We need to borrow your dad’s car.”

So I ask dad and he says, “Yes, but don’t go over 180.  Okay?”

“Okay,” we say.

The car can go about 220 mph anyway.  I get in the car with Max and we drive to the bridge.  In one minute I am already there!  Max tells me where to put the dynamite and where to attach it.  The dynamite explodes, leaving a very big hole!  Max and I look down the hole.  The hole is sloped at 45 degrees.  It is pretty shiny.  After that, Max is in first.  He asks me to follow.  I unroll the rope so I can use the rope to go faster.  “There is the diamond!” I exclaim.

Max is the only one who can read the instructions, which are in a different language.  “It says that you need to get gold.  That’s it!  And mix it up with the diamond.”

The next day is Saturday.  I wake up and get as much gold as fast as I can.  I have just enough gold to mix with the diamond.  And we’re ready.  “Which Alien are we to kill,” I ask Max.

“Mr. Thompson, because he is the boss of all the Aliens,” says Max.

“No way,” I say.

“Way,” Max insists.

“Let’s go,” Max says.

That night there are no more Aliens around.

Photo by Carl Nelson

From the Editor’s Perch

December 14, 2012
You may drink water.

  You may drink water.

Fasting

 

Save Twenty Dollars a Day by Fasting

Fasting is inexpensive.  In fact, I figure it’s saving me around $20/day.  And it’s a savings you could have, right now!  You don’t need a personal trainer or a gym membership.  And it’s relatively safe, totally organic and additive free.  Lots of people fast, and have fasted throughout history.  It’s a well recorded tradition and practice.  And, it’s nice to develop a gauge of how much food we really need.  (Not much!)

 

Fasting is easier than dieting.  You only need to say “No” once.  You needn’t hold a long, rationalizing, hypocritical conversation with each potato chip in the bag.  And fasting people lose weight without exertion.  Plus, fasting frees up a lot of time, which you can spend on a lot of other things, because you can fast anywhere, anytime, and during any activity.  You can even fast during exercise.  In fact, what’s hard is to eat during exercise.  Previously, in a piece I wrote for this column, (“Living Longer, https://schn00dles.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/from-the-editors-perch-40/ ), I noted that scientists were speculating that fasting could possibly extend people’s lives by 65 percent.   So fasting is a powerful, organic, time saving, money-saving, fully committed, double-barreled, life enhancing, health tool!  …available to all.

 

The toughest thing about fasting is ironically that it is ‘slow’.  You can’t do fasting ‘crunches’ for 20 minutes, four times a day, and feel great.  It’s all about time.  Living with loooong stretches of time, which ultimately forces you to examine what you are doing with your life when not eating.  Cultures are built and organized around eating, and so are people!  When you stop eating, you are tossed out of much of what makes us (literally).  So fasting is good spiritual exercise.  When you fast, you realize how much of your life’s enjoyment is spiritual – and how much is earthly.  Mystics, hermits, and all the contemplative religions seem to value the seated, contemplative figure who appears as if through an astigmatism like El Greco’s.   Sitting here fasting, I realize on what a drab, slender, tentative, and theoretical head of a pin my spirituality actually is perched.  The mentality of fasting is like all of a sudden finding oneself in a world that is an empty room.   Where is all the fun stuff?  (Like donuts!)

 

Fasting is not making me a saint.  On the contrary, I can get a little grumpy.  But when you fast for several days, several remarkable things do occur.  The first is that hunger does not grow ferocious.  Instead it ebbs; it glides into the background of your activities, always there, but tamed somehow; domesticated.  Everything eats!  Even a paramecium eats.  So that when you decide not to eat, it’s as if you are standing tall and speaking back to Nature.  Fasting really takes you out of this world.

 

And fasting also seems to make a person more contemplative.  My body also feels lighter, and complains less.  Moving is easier.  My thinking is calmer.  If I were to judge from the way my body feels when fasting, I would almost conclude that food is bad for me!

 

It is hard to imagine that something we absolutely need could be bad for us.  And also it’s not hard to imagine, especially while fasting, that a cow or a plant is living in a totally ecstatic state.  A plant is continually eating nutrients and growing!  (Oh, I wish.)  Perhaps we have no idea how happy plants are?  Perhaps that’s why they’ve not further developed any urge to move?  Add another circle to Dante’s hell!  Perhaps motion is another indicator of a spiritual misstep.

 

These are just some of the thoughts I’m having 2.5 days into my fast:   ‘I ‘m a rock; I’m a stone.’

Photo of model by Carl Nelson

 

Murders in Progress… by Eldon Cene

December 9, 2012
And finally:  Let's Give It Up for the Lone Star State!

And finally: Let’s Give It Up for the Lone Star State!

(Pin-up in Sheriff Leland’s back room, which was replaced by the White Board)

Whiteboard

(Episode 19)

             A week had passed.  They had identified the first murder victim as Clarisse Clemens, another newbie to the area, which explained why no one had appeared to claim her body (parts).  Also, she had a rap sheet.  Apparently at one time she had also worked as a prostitute and a bunko artist.  Neither one very successfully it appeared, because she was found way out here and missing her head with a total of $19.37 and a six pack of condoms in her pocketbook.  Agent Hailey had retrieved a lot more information about her from their forensics team, which Agent Curtis wanted her to postpone sharing until he could be present at the meeting.  Presently he was in the city preparing to move against Benny Green and his operation, and he wanted to keep his ‘operational status’ clear for that, before entangling himself in that ‘rural muck’ portion of the investigation once again.  “Besides,” he said over the phone, “that’s what I have Agent Hailey there for.  I assume you two are working together okay?”

“Yes, we’re doing fine,” Leland replied.  “She’s very capable.  There’s no need to rush for that reason.  Although I would like a look at those findings as soon as possible, the pressure in a small community to find the perpetrator being what it is,” Leland said.

“I’ll be there as soon as I can,” Agent Curtis replied curtly.  “But I have to let you know, Benny Green is still my top suspect.”

“We’ll see you when you get here,” Leland replied and hung up.

“You’ve got all the forensics?” Leland asked.

“Faxed this morning,” Agent Hailey replied.

“Thanks,” Leland replied.  If Agent Curtis knew the kind of end run Agent Hailey and he were perpetrating, he might have to re-consider who was pimping who.  As it stood now, Leland had an inside to the full resources of the FBI through Agent Hailey.  And Agent Hailey had a full run of the investigation through him.  And “all there is left now is marriage,” Leland smiled, happy with how this was all playing out.

“Is that a proposal?”

Agent Hailey had softened quite a bit under Leland’s professional wooing, and was becoming a real part of the team.  ‘…of two’, Leland considered happily.  It was like every day was another date with his dream law enforcer.  He had never been so happy chasing a murderer.

“I have my tux pressed,” Leland bantered.

Agent Hailey sobered.

“Maybe we’d better go over that new evidence and tape it up,” Leland said.

As her gift to the operation, Agent Hailey had brought in a large whiteboard with tape, yarn and marking pens… where they were doing some mind mapping of the crime.  Ruth was impressed.  “Never saw me do this to chase down a missing cow, now did you?”  Leland grinned.

Ruth smiled.  Ruth was happy when Sheriff Leland was happy.  And currently, he was chasing down this cruel, ruthless, absolutely amoral serial murderer with his shoes two feet off the ground like a love struck schoolboy.  She just hoped he didn’t become too addled by infatuation and kept his wits about him.  About Agent Hailey, she still hadn’t made up her mind.

“You see this latest news?  It’s that ‘in-depth’ interview that schoolgirl Nancy Gillis did of you coming back on the bus from the crime scene, and written up for the Kimmel High Wolverine.”  Ruth dropped a massive newspaper upon Leland’s desk.

Leland’s mind was on the whiteboard, but he turned when he heard the ‘thump!’.  “The Kimmel County Wolverine puts out a paper that big?”

Ruth shook her head.  “It was picked up by the New York Times!” Ruth said deadpan.

Leland and Agent Hailey both stared as Ruth placed the front page of the New York Times neatly where they could see the picture and headline, just below the fold.

The photo, taken in provocative shadow, was of “Sheriff Leland Kelly, Kimmel County Sheriff, oiling and reassembling his 45 caliber Colt Anaconda behind the partly open blinds of his front office.”

The headline read:

 

“They Pursue Serial Killers Differently in Kimmel County”

 

            Ruth gave Leland the sober eye.

            “Ooooh shit,” Leland whistled.

Photo by Carl Nelson

Murders in Progress… by Eldon Cene

December 7, 2012

Elderly Woman Working Jigsaw Puzzle3

Ramey Gets Interrogated

(Episode 17)

            Ramey had emptied two bottles of wine getting through the rape kit procedure and was now fast asleep under the sheet, head lolling off the table top, his breathing ragged with glottal stops and gasps.  It was annoying.  And it was interrupting Leland’s conversation with Agent Hailey.  So Leland shoved Ramey’s head roughly back onto the table.  “Shut up Ramey.”

Ramey murmured something dental and vaguely offensive, took a lazy swat at the air, missing Leland by a foot, and rolled over.

“I scraped his nails, took a buccal swab, and checked him for cuts and bruises, scratches, the works.  He’s clean as a baby’s butt, and with hands just about as soft,” Agent Hailey said.  “It makes no sense.

Leland snapped himself from his reverie.  The woman was just so damned beautiful he felt as if he were watching a movie.   “It does if he’s just a dentist,” Leland said.

Agent Hailey moved them quietly out of Ramey’s hearing.  ‘All they needed was soft candle light,’ Leland thought sadly, with the regrets of someone who feels he is going to miss that train.

Agent Hailey frowned.  “Usually there’s a telltale.  You don’t just drag a struggling woman 50 yards through undergrowth, in the dark, to a spot where she’s beaten and raped after meanwhile taking several shots at you, without some kind of abrasive evidence.  It doesn’t add up.  Even the most careful killers usually have some kind of scratch to explain away, or forest dirt under their nails, or hair or blood splatters, or knuckle abrasions, or clothes to dispose of.   It just doesn’t make sense.”

Unless he’s the mild-mannered dentist who didn’t do it.”

“How could he have known all of this beforehand, if he didn’t do it?”

“He didn’t know all of it beforehand.  He just knew her name.”

“Then how could he have known her name.”

“I don’t know.  Maybe he overheard it from some gassed patient blathering on under the effects of an anesthetic which stimulated his already overly excitable imagination,” Sheriff Leland got a little excited himself, “… into a formed narrative of great moment?”  Leland smiled.  Agent Hailey looked at him funny.

“Then how could he know all of it afterward?”  Agent Hailey pursed her lips, leaning in.

Less impossible…”

“Not much.”

Leland paused before answering.  Agent Hailey was actually hissing softly.  But the difference between hissing and puckering for a kiss was spatially pretty much similar.  Leland angled his head this way and that, considering which attitude most got their noses out of the way.   It was mostly a matter of attitude,  Leland considered… and remained lost in these considerations until she kicked him.

“Ow!  I don’t know.”  He rubbed his shin.  “And kicking me usually doesn’t make me any smarter.”

“Fine then.  You talk to the guy a while, while I go through the house.”

“We haven’t a warrant.”

You haven’t a warrant.  He signed one for me.” Agent Hailey gave a pert flip of her head.  “Actually, she signed one for me.  But I’m thinking it’s probably valid, given the circumstances.”

Leland waved her off.  Agent Hailey was really interfering with his focus.  And he figured it was about time to interrogate Ramey, anyway.

“So.  Ramey,” Leland called out to the bleary dentist after he had rousted him and administered some strong, hot coffee.  “What’s been going on with you?”

“Oh, Leland.  You wouldn’t believe…”  Ramey’s head snapped back and a sharp, crisp demanding woman’s voice issued from the other side of his mouth.  “Have you caught my rapist yet?”

Leland was caught aback, even though he had been expecting something of the sort.  Ramey’s whole aspect seemed changed.  “Ma’am, I realize you probably have a lot you will want to tell me, but I would like to speak with Ramey, the dentist, first.”

He wasn’t raped.”

Leland next expected Ramey’s head to turn entirely around and to vomit green goo.  But he remained firm.  “The dentist, please.”

Ramey’s head snapped back, and it was the Ramey Leland knew.  “Oh, Leland,” Ramey began again.  “I feel as if I’m married, only I’m 25 years in and we’re really getting on each other’s nerves.   She won’t leave me alone!  She wants this done.  She wants that done.  Nothing’s quite right.  She just doesn’t seem to be able to be satisfied.  And she’s got all this anger, which I feel she projects onto me.  Who I feel she doesn’t really know, or actually care to know.  I finally had to give up and started drinking.  How do married men take it?”

“I don’t know, Ramey.  I’m not married.”

Ramey nodded.  “Why do men ever enter into such a state?”  Ramey whined.

“I don’t know, Ramey.  I think maybe sex has a lot to do with it.”  Leland put his hand on Ramey’s shoulder.  “At least, it seems responsible for a lot of the crazy things I see in my line of work.”

“Yeah.”  Ramey nodded.

“Look, Ramey.  I’m sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner.  Okay?”

Ramey rolled his eyes.

“But I need to know.  What is this thing between you and Nancy Loomis?  How are you two connected?  How did you know she was going to get murdered?”

“I didn’t know she was going to be murdered, Leland.  All I was doing was mowing my yard!  Even now.  You see how it’s half done.  Did you even notice the mower left out there?  I was mowing my yard when suddenly, I received these horrific visions, and the name “Nancy Loomis” sounded in my ears.  You remember when I realized your 13 year old dog, Lucy, had been hit and killed, and then drug off into the woods by a coyote, and I knew just where to find her?”  Leland nodded.  “It was just like that.  So I called Ruth – who was as officious as ever.  Leland, I have to say, that woman is not to be trusted with power.  Do you know she calls your Sheriff’s office a department, when you aren’t looking?”

“Yes, I know this Ramey.”

“Well, anyway.  So I’m trying to tell her what I know, but I need to know what I know for certain before I commit myself because, as you know, in these small towns it’s very hard to preserve your reputation as a professional.  You’ve just got to watch it like a hawk!  So I try to ask Ruth what she knows about a ‘Nancy Loomis’.  But she says she can’t reveal any information about an ongoing investigation.  So I say, “So there is an ongoing investigation regarding Nancy Loomis?”  To which she says, “I can’t say.  We can’t reveal information regarding any ongoing investigation either factual or fantastical”.  You know how bureaucrats talk and repeat the same things with that kind of nasal thing going when they’re trying to dish you?  Well, Ruth does that too, Leland.”

“I know, Ramey.”

“And then pretends like she doesn’t know me.  I’m her dentist, for Pete’s sake Leland.”

“I know, Ramey.  I know.”

Ramey sighed.  “So I tell her to have you call me.  And of course you don’t call me.  And the rest is history.”

“I’ll say I’m sorry one more time, Ramey, and then that’s it.”

Ramey nodded.

“You haven’t taken me up to the part where you got married.”

“Married?  Oh yeah.”  Ramey shook his head, rattled it, actually.  “There wasn’t much to it.  I go to bed.  And the next thing I know, I wake up.  And there’s this partly naked woman in a ruined dress in my head with me.  I mean, she’s a mess!  And she’s pissed as hell.  It’s like one of those Las Vegas wedding things I’d guess, where you head out drinking, and the next thing you know you’re waking up in some strange motel room with some woman you don’t recognize – who smiles at you with just these awful teeth – who says you’re married.  I mean, it’s a mind blower Leland.  And you’re left just casting about for landmarks.  Which, again, is why I called you.”

“I know.  I know.  And I’m sorry, Ramey.  But I’m here now.”

“Yeah.”

“Look.  Maybe it’s time I speak with Nancy…”

“It’s Ms. Loomis to us Leland.  And I think that’s a good idea.  And while you’re at it, could you just tell her that I didn’t have anything to do with whatever has happened to her, and so perhaps she could just calm down a little, at least with me?  It’s a small space in here.  I mean, inside my head.”

“I’ll do what I can Ramey.”

“Thanks.”  Ramey’s head turned, and the fish wife re-appeared.  “That took you long enough.”

“Well,” Leland said, “Ramey had some concerns.”

“He’s a fucking dentist.  Who cares what concerns a dentist can have?”

“Well, to a “fucking dentist”, strange as it may seem, their concerns sometimes reign uppermost, in their minds.”

“Well they shouldn’t.  Because, God knows, I’ve been complaining loud enough.”

“He agrees, which gets us to something he wanted me to bring up with you.”

“I’m in his own head, and he needs an intermediary?”

“Well, perhaps you come on a little strong.”

“It’s a man’s world!  How would you expect me to come on?  Do you know how hard it is for a woman to make a go of it in the kind of ‘Good ‘Ol Boy’ business climate there is that exists out there?  Do you think I just got given a 5 million dollar industry to run?  No!  I didn’t think so.  I had to build it from scratch.  From the mixing bowl up!  And after all that, all that toil and sweat and after breaking the glass ceiling all on my own without any help from you or any other man, do you know they call me?  The Muffin Lady.  Well, you know what?  I wear that moniker as a badge of pride.  Go ahead.  Call me the Muffin Lady.  And I’ll call you and raise you 5 million dollars.  What do you think of that?”

“I think that you’ve shown a lot of pluck.”

“Luck?  Luck?!  What’s luck got to do with it?”

“I said, pluck…  PLUCK!”

“Okay.  Well, good then.  He must have messed up my hearing when he punched me in my good ear.”

“That’s probably it.  Now if we could just get to your recounting of events?”

“I would love to go there, finally, for Christ’s sake.”  A tear trickled down Ramey’s cheek.  “You’re going to help me nail this bastard?”  Leland felt some sympathy rise up.

“We’re going to blow a big wide hole, right through him.”

“That sounds good.  That works for me.”

Leland nodded, and they began their interrogation.

Photo by Carl Nelson

From the Editor’s Perch

December 2, 2012

Editor’s Note:  grumble, grumble….

Hyperactive Textbook2

Hey Kids!

The Hyperactive Textbook

If you have kids, chances are you end up helping them with their homework.  When I was a student the texts had chapters and paragraphs explaining the material to be learned followed by questions to test whether we had indeed understood the lesson.  Nowadays, just locating the explanatory narrative can be challenging.  The page is a jumble of fonts and colors and letters printed in a variety of bold types and sizes.  There are illustrations and photos and diagrams and insets and outsets and a matrix of colored explanatory boxes rife with additions and digressions and further explanations, and even little cartoony, happy learning helpers to point out important things you might not want to miss.  All in all it’s a thriving, teeming mass of intelligiblia (my term).  Just locating the preceding and following chapters takes a bit of concentration.  And the whole phantasmagoria of it makes me a little queasy.  Whatever happened to simple schoolbook type and the narrative progression of reason… followed by a few well thought out questions?

Hyperactive Textbook3

Look at this!

If your students’ problem solving skills are anything like my son’s, it’s a matter of reading the question and stabbing at an answer.  And if the answer doesn’t come in a lucky burst of insight, the next thing you do is to go looking for help.  Actually, demanding  help.  (Looking for that little ‘happy figure’.)  And any help should cut to the chase – providing the answer first, before providing the explanation.   Any help which has to mull the problem over – pause to think for a moment – is obviously incompetent.

And this!
And this!
Cool!, huh?

As a parent we have to resist this tyranny of the ignorant, for the sake of our children.  But it’s hard when the text itself panders to it.  To my thinking a good text implicitly practices the problem solving skills required by the questions. Chris19Web It is a calm thoughtful explanation, each of which parts are an equally important link in a narrative of constructed understanding.Chris5Web It begins with what we know – just as should the process of answering the questions – and progresses in clear, thoughtful steps towards conclusions which reveal much that we didn’t know.  It is an exercise in delayed gratification, much like a successful life.

But apparently our educators and their publishers all know better now.Chris16Web  Cool!  huh?

Photos by Carl Nelson of a professional model


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