October 30, 2006

Citizens for Literary Standards in Schools, part two: examining their recommendations

Posted in Censorship, Education, Literature, Musings at 12:38 pm by The Lizard Queen

Ah-ha, I bet you thought I was never going to get back to this, eh?

There is a petition that appears on the Citizens for Literary Standards in Schools’ website that asks that fourteen books be removed from the curricula of Blue Valley schools. Their argument is that these books “do not pass the selection criterion of Blue Valley policy 4600 which states: ‘The absence of vulgar language, sexual explicitness, or violent imagery that is gratuitously employed.'” The books they would like removed are the following: All the Pretty Horses, Animal Dreams, The Awakening, The Bean Trees, Beloved, Black Boy, Going After Cacciato, Hot Zone, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Lords of Discipline, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Song of Solomon, Stotan, and Boy’s Life (I think perhaps they mean Tobias Wolff’s This Boy’s Life). They suggest the following “educationally rich replacements”: The Count of Monte Cristo, David Copperfield, Don Quixote, The Good Earth, Ivanhoe, The Last of the Mohicans, The Mill on the Floss, Moby Dick, The Narrative of Frederick Douglass, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, The Return of the Native, Robinson Crusoe, Silas Marner, Treasure Island, and Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Read the rest of this entry »


My hometown in the news

Posted in News, Personal at 12:32 pm by The Lizard Queen

From the CNN.com article St. Louis named most dangerous U.S. city:

The safest city in 2005 was Brick, New Jersey, with a population about 78,000, followed by Amherst, New York, and Mission Viejo, California.

Go Mission Viejo! What amuses me is that we moved to Mission Viejo from St. Louis…

October 28, 2006

Adoption issues

Posted in Children and adolescents, Civil rights, Family, GLBT issues at 12:04 pm by The Lizard Queen

So… why, exactly, do people say that same-sex couples aren’t as qualified to adopt children as heterosexual couples?

From CNN.com: Mother guilty of killing, abusing boy, 7

LANSING, Michigan (AP) — A mother who claimed that her missing 7-year-old son had run away was found guilty Friday of his murder.

Lisa Holland cried quietly as jurors found her guilty of first-degree felony murder and child abuse in the death last year of her adopted son Ricky. …

Her husband testified that on July 1, 2005, he came home from an errand and found Ricky dead in bed, with vomit and traces of blood around his mouth, and his wife screaming she “didn’t mean to do it.”

He said that a week earlier, he had returned from military training in Virginia to find the boy with a cut on his head, listless and unable to walk. He said he didn’t take him to a doctor because he didn’t want a confrontation with his wife and thought his son would get better. …

The prosecution said Ricky likely suffered a brain injury a week or more before he died, and his parents let him die a slow death.

The Hollands became Ricky’s foster parents in 2000 and adopted him in 2003, the year after the parental rights of his biological parents were terminated because of neglect.

The couple also adopted Ricky’s three younger siblings and in addition had a child of their own.

Now, this is obviously an extreme case, and I know that for every horrible set of adoptive parents you hear about, there are thousands of wonderful, generous, loving adoptive parents. Still, how would it be harmful to increase the pool of potential adoptive parents such that parents (of any sexual persuasion) that might ultimately do harm to the children they adopt might perhaps, just perhaps, have less of a chance of getting to adopt children? Maybe I’m being too optimistic. Maybe 99.9% of adoptive parents who end up harming the children they adopt seem heaven-sent right up until they’re arrested. But I can’t help wondering…


Posted in Humor, Personal at 11:38 am by The Lizard Queen

Yar. You know I couldn’t pass this up…

What kind of pirate am I? You decide!
You can also view a breakdown of results or put one of these on your own page!
Brought to you by Rum and Monkey

I just couldn’t resist…

Posted in Humor, Personal at 11:24 am by The Lizard Queen

I’ll get back to the politically-motivated posts in a bit, but I couldn’t resist posting this. Those who know me personally will likely recognize why I’m so incredibly amused by it.

I'm Swiss, yodelodelodelay-hee-foo'
Which Survivor of the Impending Nuclear Apocalypse Are You?
A Rum and Monkey joint.

October 26, 2006

A personal post: Never trust a fellow with a helmet on his head…

Posted in Music, Personal at 8:21 pm by The Lizard Queen

Recipe to alleviate depression, anxiety, and general physical malaise:

1. Remember when looking for a CD to listen to in the shower (you music addict, you) that you have a DVD that you’ve never watched of your favorite band in concert.

2. Put said DVD on.

3. Fantasize about running your hands through your favorite band member’s long, flowing locks (mmm, hockey hair…).

4. Get misty when they sing that romantic song that involves what is possibly your favorite city on the whole damn planet.

5. Lament that you didn’t drive to a nearby state to see them on their last tour. Vow to do whatever it takes–up to and including maxing out credit cards and/or flying to Atlantic Canada–to see them on their next tour. Life is just too damn short not to experience that kind of joy in person as much as possible.

6. Wonder how there are people in the audience who are standing still. Swear that you spot a contemporary version of Lurch out there.

7. Ignore wooziness to dance goofily with your puppy–until she jumps up and tries to give you a kiss, which is much more likely to give you a fat lip and/or bruised cheekbone this time around.

8. Wonder for a moment if perhaps Shanty Man is, in fact, your favorite band member. Notice Hockey Hair’s grin and become re-smitten with him. If worries about your love life, capacity to love and/or be loved, or tendency to crush on people you’ve never met start to seep through, resolve not to think about them. Or maybe to become a Buddhist nun. Whatever works, really.

9. Get back to just enjoying the music and energy.

10. Repeat as necessary.

October 10, 2006

Citizens for Literary Standards in Schools, part one: responding to some of their complaints

Posted in Censorship, Education, Literature, Musings at 12:09 pm by The Lizard Queen

If you haven’t yet noticed, the banning and challenging of books is a major interest of mine. So when Evil Bender wrote a post about a group called Citizens for Literary Standards in Schools, I naturally had to check out their website. And then I naturally spent much of Saturday reading their reviews of a number of books, their reasons for objecting to those books, and their suggestions for replacements. And so now I naturally would like to respond to their statements and ideas. In the interest of keeping my posts to a manageable length, I’ll be parcelling my thoughts out over a handful of posts, which will probably be spread out over a couple of days. I’ll begin with some somewhat general thoughts. Read the rest of this entry »

October 2, 2006

Banned books update

Posted in Censorship, Education, Literature at 12:49 pm by The Lizard Queen

A Caney Creek High School dad is fired up because the Conroe Independent School District uses the book “Fahrenheit 451” as classroom reading material.

Alton Verm, of Conroe, objects to the language and content in the book. His 15-year-old daughter Diana, a CCHS sophomore, came to him Sept. 21 with her reservations about reading the book because of its language.
“The book had a bunch of very bad language in it,” Diana Verm said. “It shouldn’t be in there because it’s offending people. … If they can’t find a book that uses clean words, they shouldn’t have a book at all.”
Alton Verm filed a “Request for Reconsideration of Instructional Materials” Thursday with the district regarding “Fahrenheit 451,” written by Ray Bradbury and published in 1953. He wants the district to remove the book from the curriculum.
“It’s just all kinds of filth,” said Alton Verm, adding that he had not read “Fahrenheit 451.” “The words don’t need to be brought out in class. I want to get the book taken out of the class.”
He looked through the book and found the following things wrong with the book: discussion of being drunk, smoking cigarettes, violence, “dirty talk,” references to the Bible and using God’s name in vain. He said the book’s material goes against their religions beliefs.

The fact that the man hasn’t read the book but instead went through it looking for things to complain about makes me so angry. And of course there’s the added irony that this sort of attitude–this makes me uncomfortable so I want it removed from my sight, and I don’t want anyone else to see it, either–is very much what Farenheit 451 is arguing against in the first place.

I should add, I think, that the young woman was not by any means forced to read this book. She was offered–and selected–an alternate choice.

Finally, my favorite passage from the article: “Alton Verm’s request to ban ‘Fahrenheit 451’ came during the 25th annual Banned Books Week. He and Hines said the request to ban ‘Fahrenheit 451,’ a book about book burning, during Banned Books Weeks is a coincidence.”

My brain hurts.

Hat tip to Misty over at Shakespeare’s Sister.