Wednesday, 01 June 2011
So, I had to update two of my lists this morning: “Books I’ve Read” and “Motion Pictures I’ve Seen.” To the first list, I added the book Born to Be Giants, a book I read to Owen the other day in preparation for a TV show program I will be hosting tomorrow (see below). The the latter list, I added the films Bartleby and Black Swan. In both cases, I noticed something.
It turns out that the 87 of the 789 books on my list have titles that begin with the letter S. This is to be expected, I suppose, as more English words begin with S than any other letter (although T wins out if we consider word frequency). Guess what letter is second place on my list? No, it’s not P. Or C. Or D, M, or A, which fall second to sixth place according to Michael Quinon’s program. It’s the letter B, with 54 books. Huh. I never would have guessed that.
Now onto the motion pictures list: S again comes out first, with 136 out of 1,290 films. Second place…once again…is B, with 96 entries. Why is this? Can anyone explain? In both cases, B is in a comfortable position – at least 5% ahead of third place. Weird. According to THIS LINK, B is the eighth most popular letter for starting words. T and A are, respectively, first and second in popularity. I suppose we could argue that they often get ‘chopped’ off the alphabetical listings (due to the words “the,” “a,” and “an”), but I bet they’re still pretty popular letters even without those articles and, even if we ignore those letters, B is still sixth place.
The movie Babel is currently #3 on our Netflix queue, and sometime this month I’m gonna have to read Brokeback Mountain for my college class, so B is in no trouble of losing its position anytime soon.
Thursday, 02 June 2011
Today was a full, but great day. First, I took the day off of work. This is the second Thursday in a row that I’ve done that and, I gotta say, a person could get used to that pretty quickly.
This morning, I volunteered as a chaperone for my son’s Kindergarten class on their field trip to the Ordway. I’ve wanted to be a chaperone on one of his field trips all year, but last fall I just kept putting it off, then I missed out on a couple of opportunities, then I declined one opportunity when the teacher wrote back and said they already had the required number of chaperones. I could’ve gone with them, but I decided to save my chaperoning skills for another occasion.
Anyway, today – nine months into the school year – I got to be with Owen’s class during their trip. Another boy’s mother was there (I had met her before), and the two of us sat in the back of the class during morning circle time. The teacher assigned each of us some friends to sit next to during the show, and then we boarded the bus.
At the Ordway, we sat in the second row (great seats!) and watched a presentation of Corbian the Dinosaur. It was amazing! The theater was very dark the entire time, and all we could see on stage were these animals made out of lights – like those Yuletide rope lights. In fact, click here to see images of the play, because that will give you a better idea of what I’m talking about (you can even watch a short video about it). Oddly, the creators’ homepage titles the play Darwin the Dinosaur, while the staff at the Ordway introduced it as Corbian the Dinosaur (and, in fact, that’s what they call it at their site). Not sure why the difference. I wrote to the Ordway to ask them but, as of yet, no response.
After the play, I returned to Owen’s school with him. I was invited to stay for lunch, which was likewise a fun event. During the three hours I was with his class, I was referred to as “Owen’s Dad” about 20 times, given a ‘snake bite,’ had to let five kids try on my sunglasses, had to tie one boy’s shoelace and another girl’s shawl, told I had something on my shirt, played the see-if-you-can-slap-my-hand game, and informed that I was white. That’s the sort of stuff that just doesn’t happen if I go to work on a Thursday.
This evening, as mentioned above, I hosted another episode of Atheists Talk. I interviewed (or maybe “headed up a discussion with,” is a better choice of words) local librarian Mindy Rhiger on her suggestions for:
1) Great books to read to your children about religion/belief/death (without indoctrinating them)
2) Great books to read to your children about science/exploration (without boring them)
For each part, she discussed her top ten books. Nearly all of the books were designed for 3-8 eight year olds – you know, the kind of 32- to 40-page books with beautiful illustrations that you read to your young kids before bedtime.
The episode appears to be quite a hit – already I’ve received requests for Mindy’s book lists, and everyone involved with the show agreed it was one of the best in quite a while. I’ll post a link to the program once it appears on the WWW.