Browsing Archives for November 2007

The Once Upon a Time Business

November 25th, 2007

The title of this post is from the web site for author Phillip Pullman. I love this quote. What he actually said is this…

As a passionate believer in the democracy of reading, I don’t think it’s the task of the author of a book to tell the reader what it means. The meaning of a story emerges in the meeting between the words on the page and the thoughts in the reader’s mind. So when people ask me what I meant by this story, or what was the message I was trying to convey in that one, I have to explain that I’m not going to explain. Anyway, I’m not in the message business; I’m in the “Once upon a time” business.

Can I just repeat that last part…

He’s in the Once Upon a Time Business and not the Message Business.

There’s been a lot of stuff floating around cyberspace about this man and his work. I have read all three of the “His Dark Materials” books. They are very good. The first one The Golden Compass is a work of art. The second one The Subtle Knife is a great story. The third one, The Amber Spyglass is very dense and complicated and tricky but also a fascinating read.

We live in a culture of emptiness. We give our kids plastic and Disney and Cartoon Network and McDonald’s happy meals and it is the same as giving them nothing. Because that is what all that stuff is. There is no depth, no merit, and no knowledge to be gained. We put their young minds in tepid water and expect them to grow. Even when we give our kids books!

As a former children’s librarian I can vividly attest to the amount of crappy children’s books that flood our market place EVERY DAY. I know because part of my job was to peruse every single new children’s book that came into our library. I both loved this job and hated it. I hated it because there was so much crap being published that I wondered how on earth it ever reached the market. I loved it because every once in a great while, a volume would come from the “new book cart” to settle in my lap that would shimmer like the stars.

From the first page of these rare books, I would recognize a brilliance, a skill, and an ability – to weave a story together, to hold a child (and an adult) spellbound, to captivate an audience.

I worked at the Manhattan Public Library in Manhattan Kansas for only one year, but during that short time I compiled a mental list of must reads for kids based on the new books that came through as well as a few classics that were new to me. Phillip Pullman was one of those authors.

He does not treat kids like morons – he respects their minds and their imaginations. He is not writing to create a marketable product, he is writing to create a riveting story. A story that I have no doubt, will become a classic.

Due to some of the hype from the upcoming release of the movie, The Golden Compass, there seem to be many people living in paralyzed fear of this brilliant author – I hope you at least read the first book before you make your judgement. It is ridiculous to forward those silly panic stricken e-mails without first reading these books.

I do realize that Phillip Pullman is a self proclaimed atheist. He admits to this on his web site. I myself am not an atheist – but I occasionally have doubts about the existence of a benevolent God. What thinking person does not? It might be easy to believe in a caring God in our nice warm homes with our loaded refrigerators. But perhaps not so easy if you are an Iraqi citizen or a family in India living on the streets, relying on your three year old to generate enough pity for a loaf of bread.

Maybe Phillip Pullman just has a harder time shutting down the part of his mind that us church going Americans so easily turn off. Not that we don’t care and give and try to help, but do we really let it in???

I refuse to demonize a brilliant, creative man for his personal beliefs when they are founded in hard thinking, but I do pray for him. And as a fan of great children’s literature, I celebrate his books. They are worth a read. And they may even deepen your own faith as you gotta think about things a bit after you read them. Which is why I love his books to start with. The thinking part. It is especially good for kids to have to use their brains once in a while.

Oh dear – this was a bit of a heavy handed post for me. But it has been on my mind for a long time. Tomorrow something much lighter – I promise!

Decorating for Thanksgiving

November 17th, 2007

How are your Thanksgiving preparations going? Mine are coming together very nicely, now that the Oracle Known as Steve is in his rightful place.

Private Parts or Tats on My Stats

November 16th, 2007

Did I seriously just name this post – “Private Parts” – good grief what the heck is going to show up in my keyword search now!?! Speaking of keyword searches, I have had a few e-mails and comments regarding the ad I placed on Pioneer Woman or “Pie Near Woman” as I like to call her. So I am going to show you all something that no one has EVER seen! A part of myself that should be kept under wraps at all times. Trust me – only the stoutest of souls can face this particular jiggly mass. Cover the eyes of your young’uns. Grab a flashlight and drape a cloth over your head and the computer before you scroll down. I am going to show you something that no eyes other than mine, have ever seen…

My blog stats.

This is the what my stat counter typically looked like on the days prior to placing the ad on Pie Near Woman. She was a pretty girl, properly buttoned up, with a cardigan tossed around her shoulders and a matching handbag, but she didn’t exactly stand out you know what I mean??? She lacked that special spark. The pageant committee was not impressed.
Oct 15-Oct 31.
Avg Pageloads – 321
Avg Unique Visitors – 188
Avg returning visitors – 79

The spikes at 523 and 724 page loads are from the days that “Miz Booshay” put a story and a link from her site to mine. Thanks Donna! As a result of that link – my overall traffic took a jump. And my stat counter unbuttoned one button at the top of her blouse and took the pin out of her bun and let her hair swing down all wild and carefree. Ah…much better.

This is the day before and the first day of – the ad on “Pie Near Woman”.

On this day, my stat counter didn’t just unbutton the top button on her blouse. SHE TOOK HER BLOUSE OFF and ran around in a lacy black bustier the rest of the day!!! Who knew?!?!?

While my stat counter was er uh changing her look, I happened to walk by my computer and I noticed that it was actually sweating! The Internet space around my desk was all shimmery and full of sparkles. When I stuck my hand into this sparkly space it disappeared! I almost called the Pope! I almost called Phillip Pullman! If I wasn’t such a pantywaist, I think I could have stepped right into a different dimension. But I stayed here folks. Besides, I wanted to see what would happen next!

Here is the entire seven days on which the “Pie Near Woman” ad was up, including two days prior to the ad, to establish a norm. The last three days were a doozy with over 1300 page loads a day. Both me and my computer were drenched in sweat and all melty from exhaustion from trying to keep my stat counter from running off with Ray Bob Butterbuns, a local yokel who trades in knives down at the local flea mart. I am not EVEN going to tell you what she was wearing at this point. It was so brief and appalling that some of you would faint dead away… and others of you would want to know where she got it – and I don’t want to contribute to the delinquency of any more stat counters.

I eventually did get her to put on something more appropriate. She threw a huge fit when I said NO! to the rhinestone tiara and the matching spiked heels. Right now she is resting – mildly sedated – in a pair of tight jeans and a tube top. Hey I gotta pick my battles! She is also sporting some new tats and she’s got a gold loop in her belly button! She really thinks she is all that and I don’t know how to settle her down, but I am trying. I swear to God – I’ve got a nice cardigan and a pleated plaid skirt laying out for her, but she refuses to put it on!

Here are my stats from the last day of the ad to Wednesday Nov. 15th.

Avg page loads – 542
Avg unique visitors – 355
Avg returning visitors – 189

So there has been a few changes around here. I’ve got a tats on my stats! Welcome to all the new readers and thanks for stopping by!

If anyone is considering buying an ad on “Pioneer Woman”, I would have to recommend it. I may buy another one here in the near future, but first I have to wrestle the scarlet hair dye away from my stat counter! Wish me luck!

PS – It occurred to me after I got the red hair dye away from my stat counter and the Country Doctor came home and gave her a shot of Haldol “stat”…get it “stat” ha ha ha! Anyway – it occurred to me that many of you may wonder why in the world I would buy an ad on “Pie Near Woman” in the first place. What is wrong with her and who in tarnation does she think she is and what is up with her??? I wish I could fully explain it myself. Perhaps it is I who need the Haldol “stat” hardee hardee har har. All I know is that blogging fits me like a glove. I have never had so much fun in my life. I love to write and I especially love to write absurd, bizarre things about me, me, more me and a spriglet of me. I figure if I can get enough readers to stop by on a somewhat regular basis, maybe I can justify the ridiculous amount of time I spend on this thing, by making a little cashola. I am not just some attention seeking weirdo – okay I am an attention seeking weirdo, but I am an attention seeking weirdo that is having a really really good time on this blog. In fact, according to my conservative, protestant, Western Kansas upbringing, I have officially crossed over into the realms of heathen fun-having. I promise to repent. Right after my stat counter reaches uh…uh…ONE…MILLION. Until then – I got some bloggin’ to do.