Saturday, February 28, 2009

FYI: A Note about National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month
Last year, I compiled a list of resources for National Poetry Month. I have a link to the post with the resources in the sidebar at the right. A number of the links are no longer valid. I have been working on updating and adding to the list of resources. The new list will be much more extensive. I'll post the new resource list before the beginning of April so people can check out the links and, I hope, find some resources that they will want to use in celebrating National Poetry Month at school--and at home. For the time being, I will keep the old list available to my blog readers.
Edited to Add: My list of resources for National Poetry Month has now been updated.
Women's History Month
Tomorrow is the first day of March. Here is a link to a previous post with book lists and resources for Women's History Month: Book Lists & Resources for Women's History Month.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Pens v Blackhawks

Siddo is sitting this one out, too. It will be the third game he's missed this season. Hopefully, it will be the last game he'll miss this season. The new guy, Chris Kunitz, is expected to make his debut tonight on the top line. You'll be sick of hearing this by the end of the regular season, but this is a must-win game. The Pens need these precious points.


(Oh, and just in case you missed it, you HAVE check out the video I posted earlier this evening... :D)

GO PENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I Just Don't Even Know How To Title This One... you KNOW it's going to be something wacky! From Friend of The Show Donny M.:
Up here in Toronto we have a sorta crazy web personality known as Kayvon, He has recently put out a video featuring himself with Sidney Crosby that you might find interesting, it has been making the rounds here in Canada for the past week or so. This video really threw me for a loop the first time I saw it, plus Sidney really comes off nice [at the end of the video]. Hope you enjoy!

Wow. Just - wow. Like I said, I don't even know what to say about this one except that I guess it takes ALL kinds, hahahaha! Many thanks go out to Donny for sending this insanity my way!! :)

Original Poem: The Exterminator's List of Things to Do

My husband and I were watching MSNBC one night this week. I began to feel ill when I saw Tom DeLay's face on the TV screen. (Shouldn’t he be locked up in prison somewhere in Texas?) Just looking at the man’s face brings on a feeling of malaise. The needle on my barfometer went haywire!

I decided to let Tom, the ex pest exterminator, be the subject of an original poem for Poetry Friday this week. I wrote this poem for Tricia's Monday Poetry Stretch - Macaronic Verse. Here’s my macaronic verse in which the second language consists of words I made up.

The Exterminator’s List of Things to Do
A Typical Workday for Tom Delay

by Elaine Magliaro

Snurl the snails
And slimy slugs.
Sonk the sow
And doodlebugs.

Flurk the flies,
Gnink nasty gnats,
Wurf the wasps
With baseball bats.

Smoot and smash
The millipedes.
Erk the earwigs,

Burb the beetles
Munching roses…
Mothy larvae
Chewing clotheses.

Murch the mantis
When she’s preying
On her mate…and
Then start spraying

Bugs wrapped up
In balls of spittle.
Grunch the grubs
Now while they’re little.

Arf the aphids
Sucking sap…
Then borp ’em
With my baseball cap.

Tumb the termites
Gnawing lumber,
Ant queens reigning
In the umber.

Derch those dung-heap
Who’ll raise your taxes.
Rotten rats!

(Best I’m able
To determine
They’re just a pack
Of human vermin.)

Quell MY head lice
With shampoo.
Lord, I’ve so much
Work to do!!!

A tidbit of wisdom from Tom DeLay on the causes of the Columbine High School massacre:
"Guns have little or nothing to do with juvenile violence. The causes of youth violence are working parents who put their kids into daycare, the teaching of evolution in the schools, and working mothers who take birth control pills."



At Blue Rose Girls, I have one of my favorite poems—Pot Roast by Mark Strand.

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Mommy’s Favorite Children’s Books.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

God is our refuge and strength

Dear Friends,

Thanks for stopping by, and all your prayers and encouragements!

Thank God for strengthening me. I am feeling better but still trying to pace myself moderately. I do missed all of you very much. Thanks for all your encouragements.

This morning, I was reading CH Spurgeon's Morning and Evening as part of my morning devotion, and very much encouraged by it.

Thank God that He is our refuge and strength, and we may rest in Him daily no matter what we may go through in this world. He is unchangeable!

May God encourage you with this article and you may find rest in Him daily too.

Take care and have a great weekend!

“Thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the Most High, thy habitation.”
Psalm 91:9

THE Israelites in the wilderness were continually exposed to change.

Whenever the pillar stayed its motion, the tents were pitched; but to-morrow, ere the morning sun had risen, the trumpet sounded, the ark was in motion, and the fiery, cloudy pillar was leading the way through the narrow defiles of the mountain, up the hillside, or along the arid waste of the wilderness.

They had scarcely time to rest a little before they heard the sound of “Away! this is not your rest; you must still be onward journeying towards Canaan!” They were never long in one place. Even wells and palm trees could not detain them. Yet they had an abiding home in their God, His cloudy pillar was their roof-tree, and its flame by night their household fire.

They must go onward from place to place, continually changing, never having time to settle, and to say, “Now we are secure; in this place we shall dwell.” “Yet,” says Moses, “though we are always changing, Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place throughout all generations.”

The Christian knows no change with regard to God. He may be rich to-day and poor to-morrow; he may be sickly to-day and well to-morrow; he may be in happiness to-day, to-morrow he may be distressed—but there is no change with regard to his relationship to God.

If He loved me yesterday, He loves me to-day. My unmoving mansion of rest is my blessed Lord.

Let prospects be blighted; let hopes be blasted; let joy be withered; let mildews destroy everything; I have lost nothing of what I have in God. He is “my strong habitation whereunto I can continually resort.”

I am a pilgrim in the world, but at home in my God. In the earth I wander, but in God I dwell in a quiet habitation.

Taken from CH Spurgeon's Morning and Evening, 27 Feb, Morning

(My brother took this photo at Muriwai Beach, New Zealand)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pens v Islanders

There's BIG news to tell you tonight.

First and foremost, Siddo is not playing tonight. He sustained a groin injury on Sunday. It's an injury he's had before, so hopefully it's just a slight aggravation and nothing that's going to keep him off the ice for too long.

Also out is Ryan Whitney, who has gone back home for "personal reasons." Hopefully, this is an explanation for his recent, um, "shaky" performance. And hopefully, this means he'll get his stuff together and get his focus back on hockey.

Now, I promised a LONG time ago that I was going to catch up on the Roaming Penguins. I have reluctantly come to the realization that this isn't going to be possible without getting help. Over the past couple days, I've gotten that help - from the Roaming Penguin Mama herself! She has set up what will now be TSCS's sister site (, and she will be taking over all the Roamer posts. And rest assured: If you sent me a Roaming Penguin email that hasn't yet been posted, I still have it in my inbox and it will be forwarded to RPM so she can get those pictures posted for all the Friends to see.

For your convenience, I'll be adding a link to the Roaming Penguins blog to the main menu once I get some time this week to edit the TSCS template. (You'll know it when you see it!) And anytime she adds a new post, I'll be sure to make you all aware of it. I'm really pumped about this partnership, and I hope all of you will be, too!

Tonight the Boys will be in friendly territory when they take on the Islanders. We need all the wins we can get.

DO IT!!!!

GO PENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Out & About: February 25, 2009

From Read Write Think (IRA & NCTE): Read Across America Day Celebrates Dr. Seuss (March 2, 2009)—This site includes links to lesson plans and other websites.

From the National Education Association: NEA’s Read Across America—You can download free digital read-along versions of Dr. Seuss books, resources, and other materials at this site.

NCTE’s National Day on Writing—Interested in taking part in NCTE’s National Day of Writing on October 20, 2009? Then check out this site that has the information you need—as well as links to writing resources. (You can also read more about this day at this Wild Rose Reader post: NCTE's National Day on Writing.)

From Jen Robisnon’s Book Page: Announcing the Share a Story - Shape a Future Literacy Blog Tour

At Under the Covers: The January 2009 Carnival of Children’s Literature

Monday, February 23, 2009

Book Lists & Resources for Women's History Month

Books Lists

Other Resources

Recommended Books from Wild Rose Reader

ZT: 李泽楷绝技考

The HK media hasn't really been fair with Richard Li. Although I do not think he is a likeable person, he really does not deserve all the criticism he has attracted.

1) selling STAR to Murdoch - HK did not lose much, it is a satellite license which has no real cost and he made billion by selling to an Australian/American
2) Acquiring HKT - it was a very smart and responsible deal for the original PCCW shareholders (like what Steve Case did for the original AOL shareholders). Yes the original HKT shareholders suffered, but they had the choice to take cash when the deal was sealed
3) Privatisation of PCCW this year - as Cheung argued, $4.5 was a good price and well over the market value.

Yes, his wealth came from government favour such as the satellite license (how was it granted?) and the Cyber Port real estate project which became Bel Air, but more fault was with the AOs and Tung Cheehwa (or ICAC for that matter).





第一题问:据我所知,派息一定要有钱赚才能派,可以借钱派,但没有钱赚不能派,李察的公司何来赚百多亿那么多钱了?找到的答案是:好些年前李察的公司重组,在会计上积累了一些可分配的储备,称distributive reserve,所以今天没有赚那么多钱还可以借钱派息。这样的处理是经过会计师及律师的工作,没有理由怀疑,何况证监会不可能不监察着。再问:派息收购,外间的股东也有息派吗?答案是没有,因为派息是处理为股票成交后的事。这是股市的一种正常运作。又再问:为什么李察不私人借钱而要用公司去借呢?这里的答案要猜测一下:私人不容易借那么多钱。结论于是明确:收购电盈的公司多了电盈的股票,但同时增加了负债,打个平手。大家知道,任何公司,只要负债够高,免费送出去也没有人要。








Sunday, February 22, 2009

Pens v Caps

First things first.

To all the anonymous Caps fan trolls that inevitably lurk on TSCS any time the Pens play the Caps: if you don't have anything nice to say, DON'T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL. Look, it's fine if you hate our team (because, BELIEVE me, we loathe yours), but I will not tolerate any insults aimed directly at us simply because we are Pens fans.

I and 99.999% of the Friends are sick of it. If you violate The Friends' Zone policies, your comment will be deleted.

The funny thing is that we've actually had friendly rivalries in The Friends' Zone with fans of just about every other team in the Eastern Conference, as well as some from the Western Conference, too. We've even had cool Flyers fans show up here, and they're supposed to be the bad ones! In truth, we welcome the friendly rivalries here. (Go back to any post where we've faced the Red Wings for proof.) So if you're a mature Caps fan who can handle it, you're more than welcome to join us for some fun.

Just so you know, I get an email after every single time a comment is left - even ones left on the 2 year old "Sid v Alex: The Fashion Files" post that I didn't even write - so I'll know about any comment you post. Besides, there are plenty of Caps blogs where your opinions will be valued, so please - grow up and stop wasting your time spewing your bile here.

Now onto more important things.

The new aggressive style of play that the Pens are implementing under interim Head Coach Dan Bylsma looks really good so far. (How great has it been to see the Boys playing strong for all 3 periods?!) They'll need to keep it up today against the Capitals, with one minor adjustment: they're going to need a strong defense in front of the Flower, mostly because of A-hOle™. It's worth noting, however, that A-hOle™ is third in scoring again. Siddo is 3 points ahead of him and back in the #2 spot, and Geno is on top leading A-hOle™ by a full 11 points.

GO PENS!!!!!!!!!!!!

light viewing: bush maize ad in china

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Thanks, Marty!

Here is the video of Siddo's game winning goal, which was scored off a nice feed from Super Dupers after Flyer's goaltender Martin Biron flubbed up:

Biron should get credit for the secondary assist! :P

Next up: The Boys are taking a train (true story!) to Washington D.C. to face the Capitals, who are going to be hungry after losing 4-1 to the Colorado Avalanche. The Pens' new strategy under interim Head Coach Dan Bylsma is to go for an aggressive offensive onslaught. Oh, and we've got the top two scorers in the league.


GO PENS!!!!!!!!!!

Pens v Flyers

Well, folks - I hope you've prepared yourselves for this weekend of matinee madness.

Today: the Flyers.
Tomorrow: the Caps.

Hmmm... I hope none of us stroke out from all the hatred! ;)

GO PENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Shadow: An Original Rhyming Acrostic

Here’s a rhyming acrostic poem from an unpublished poetry collection I wrote quite some time ago. The collection has been sitting around gathering metaphorical dust.

Silent sidekick, shape shifter who

Hides in the darkness…

A copycat mimicking everything you

Do. Sunny day playmate frolics in the light.

Oh, where, oh,

Where does it go at night?

You can read Chameleon, another of my rhyming acrostics, here.


At Blue Rose Girls, I have a poem by Robert Burns in honor of my daughter’s recent engagement.

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at The Holly and the Ivy.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pens v Canadiens

I'm weak and tire easily, but I'm starting to feel better again - thanks for all the well wishes. :) I don't think I've been that sick in more than 10 years. At its worst, it was AWFUL.

Hopefully the Pens are feeling Dan Bylsma. Sounds like the new locker room cheer is





BTW: The Habs have benched my original favorite hockey player, Alexei Kovalev, because he's in a slump. Hmmm... Maybe Ray Shero should give him a call and schedule a lunch meeting. Am I the only one who's thinking how awesome would it be for Siddo to have an AK27 on his wing?! :D

GO PENS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The wrong chart which misleads

(via Big Picture) WaPo has a chart showing how Japan has fallen behind in the past 2 decades. viz, it was #4 in GDP/cap (nominal) in 1992 and "now" only #20. Unfortunately there are two problems, (1) it used nominal currency which depends on the very volatile exchange rate figure; (2) it used 2007 figure.

I made a simple estimate, using the 2007 number given by WaPo (i.e. assuming the same GDP/cap growth in the past 14 months, which could vary by a few percentage points ), and applied the difference in exchange rate taken from charts in yahoo. Now Japan climbed back to #3 as a result of the recent exchange rate hike. (ignoring those behind #10 in 2007 ranking, which seems reasonable as no other country has seen such significant appreciation in exchange)

For developed countries it is always more "stable" to use PPP, for which Japan is still around #20 in 2008 (17 in World bank rank, which excludes non-sovereign entities such as HK, consistent with the charts WaPo has been using, which excluded HK). So I do not challenge WaPo's assertion, but its reasoning and choice of data is questionable.

p.s. I do not have the GDP/cap ranking for Japan in PPP in 1992, but I believe it is in the teens, so Japan's rank in GDP/cap(PPP), i.e. living standard, did not change that much. (it was 20520, vs 24700 of USA)

p.s.2 PPP is not as reliable when comparing the economy of developing countries, though in longer time span it is more stable -- which I had chosen when I studied China's growth a few years ago

Monday, February 16, 2009

Darwin's theory - the mathematical argument

Charles Darwin is perhaps one of the most influential scientists in the past 300 years. The others include Newton and Einstein. The reasoning behind Darwin's theory can explain phenomena observed in many fields in this world, including even modern business and finance.

For example, the evolution of the players in an industry mimics the various species in a habitat where new species are evolved and the fittest survives. Each thriving company would have mastered its own niche, like a thriving species does. As the environment shifts, 
The only key difference, as strategist Bruce Henderson noted, is that evolutionary path in the natural world "happen", more or less by chance of the re-shuffling of the double helix. While companies can actively pursue its strategy to chose its own path (and hence niche/competitive advantage).

In finance, one simple analogy is the stock market indices such as DJIA, where successful company phases in and the less successful one phases out, creates an illusion to us that stock price always grow (with the indices). While in reality many companies failed and many investments disappeared, but they are not reflected in your DJIA or Hang Seng.

People are often under the impression that it is possible to win against the casinos, as we often hear (directly or indirectly) people bragging how much they got from a trip to Macau or Vegas, or their friends or friend of friends, if not themselves. One often fails to notice the fact that people usually won't tell you if they lost. So you got only a biased sample of gamblers. Those who vanished after losing their lives' saving won't have the opportunity to tell you their stories, just like the out-competed species who will not live to tell you theirs.
-- the simple fact is, casino is a very profitable business. Casinos make a lot of money despite the high operating cost and heavy tax.

I can go on and on, which is why Darwin is so great, in my view.

There are many evidence supporting Darwin's theory, which you may all have read. The most important (to some, 'controversial') idea of Darwin is that Species are not stationary, they evolve, and new species will appear as a result of 'evolution'.

Here I want to lay out a simple argument, simply based on two pieces of facts
1) There are only finite number of species in history
2) Species extinct in the past, present, and also likely in future

They we can reason as below
3) If there is no new species coming into this world, the total number of species will decrease (monotonically -- to borrow a high school mathematice term)
4) When such trend continues, and unless the rate of decrease of the disappearing (extinct) species falls at certain rate (mathematically, the sum over time converges to a finite number) -- which is certain untrue at present time as we witness the lost of species much faster than any other time in human history, mostly due to the impact of human themselves -- there will be very few (or no) species left within a finite number of years.

Therefore, there are only 2 alternatives (with the caveats stated above). (A) New species emerges over time. (B) There will be very few species left in some years.

Now let's start this line of thought from a couple billion years back, when we first observed life on earth (from fossils). 
1) the total number of species in our world today is 3-30 million
2) the history of life on earth is about 3.5bn years
3) if no new species emerged since "genesis" (i.e. 3.5bn years ago), then the total number of lives back then would be 3m+(3.5bn)X, where X is the number of species extinct per year. (to be more precise, this should be an integral, as the rate is not a constant. but we can approximate)

We know that many species extinct each year in today's world. Without the human impact this rate of extinction would be much slower, however, we do see many species extinct in the past, such as the dinosaurs, the trilolites. If only on average one species extinct per year, the total number of species existed on earth 3.5bn years ago would have to be 3.5bn+3m! One has to ask, if the earth is large enough to accomodate so many species, given it could only house 30m today.

More Children's Books about Abraham Lincoln

From The Horn Book: The Best Abe Lincolns, a list of recommended books about Abraham Lincoln

From Through the Looking Glass Children’s Book Reviews: Abraham Lincoln

From Scholastic: Lincoln Books


For more suggested books and resources about Abraham Lincoln, check out this earlier Wild Rose Reader post—The Lincoln Bicentennial: Book Lists & Resources

Here’s a link to my review of a fine picture book about the Lincoln funeral train written by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Wendell MinorPicture Book Review: Abraham Lincoln Comes Home

More Book Lists & Resources for Black History Month

From East Central Georgia Regional Library: Black History Month Sites

From TeacherVision: Black History Month—Teacher Resources

From National Geographic: The Underground Railroad

From Scholastic: Culture & Change—Black History in America

From Scholastic: The Underground Railroad—Escape from Slavery

From Scholastic: Books About Great African Americans for Grades PreK-4 and Up

From Scholastic: The Top Ten African-American Inventors

The Black Inventor On-Line Museum

From Reading Rockets: Black History Month

From Time for Kids: Black History Month

From The History Channel: Black History

PBS Kids GO!: Jazz Greats


Check out this previous post at Wild Rose Reader: Black History Month: Book Lists, Books Reviews, & Resources

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Hi, Friends.

I'm so sorry I missed the Pens v Leafs game. I'm very, very ill. I've got a nasty case of the stomach flu. I was sent home sick on Thursday, and I've progressively gotten worse over the weekend. The only reason I even turned my computer on tonight is so I could try to find out if my insurance coverage has kicked in because I'm pretty sure I need to see a doctor. But since I had it on, I figured I'd post this note. I just don't want anyone to think that I'm abandoning ship or anything. I still fully intend to keep up with TSCS as much as I can while I work on the new website project at work and then resume full time maintenance of TSCS once I get back on a normal schedule. That is and always has been my plan.

But if I don't post anything for the next game or two, it's because I'm still sick. I'll be back when I'm feeling better. Until then, stay healthy if you haven't caught this thing because it's an effing nightmare. (I've lost 11 pounds in 4 days - not good.) And, as always:

GO PENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Jarrett Krosoczka Exhibit

There is an exhibit of original art work by children’s author and illustrator Jarrett Krosoczka at the Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Massachusetts. The exhibit runs through February 26, 2009. You can read Jarrett’s post about it here.

For full info on the show, follow this link.

Seymour Simon Gorilla Contest

Seymour Simon, the award-winning author of science books for children, is running a video contest called Go Gorilla! You can read about the contest here at Simon’s blog Seymour Science.

The winner of the contest will receive an autographed copy of Seymour Simon's new Gorillas book! The winning video will also be posted on the SeymourScience Web site! In case of ties, more than one prize will be given.

I won! I won! I won!

Lucky me! I was the fortunate person who placed the winning bid in the Small Graces February auction. I am so happy--and not just because I am now the proud owner of a second original painting by my good friend Grace Lin. I am thrilled because all the auction proceeds will go to The Foundation for Children's Books to help underwrite the visits of children's authors and illustrators in underserved schools in the Greater Boston area.

Here's the painting I won!
I love it!!!!!
You can read more about the Small Graces auctions at the following Wild Rose Reader post:
Small Graces: A Painting a Month for the Foundation for Children's Books

My other Grace Lin original is the first double-page spread that appears in the picture book One Is a Drummer. It's a colorful and beautiful painting that I can look at every day when I'm at work on my computer.

You can see the painting hanging on the wall above the bookcase in my library/office.

The Cybils Award Winners

The Cybils Award Winners have been announced!

Check out the winning books here.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Poetry Friday: The Owl and the Pussycat

Here is my selection of a “love” poem for the Friday before Valentine’s Day. I used to recite The Owl and the Pussycat for my elementary students often in class. I enjoyed the rhythm and the flow of the poem and Lear’s “runcible” spoon and Bong-tree.

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat
by Edward Lear

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
"O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!"

Pussy said to the Owl, "You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?"
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-Tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose,
His nose,
His nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.

"Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?" Said the Piggy, "I will."
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

If you are looking for a terrific picture book edition of The Owl and the Pussycat, find yourself a copy of Edward Lear’s popular poem illustrated by Stephane Jorisch and published by Kids Can Press (2007). It’s a title in the publisher’s Visions in Poetry series.

Check out Fuse #8’s review of The Owl and the Pussycat.

Alison Morris of Shelftalker selected Jorisch’s illustrated version of Lear’s poem as one of her favorite children’s poetry books of 2007. Read her post about the poetry books here.

Read an interview with Stephane Jorisch about his art for his illustrated version of Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky at Embracing the Child.


At Blue Rose Girls, I have Anne Bradstreet’s To My Dear and Loving Husband and links to other children's and adult poems perfect for sharing on Valentine’s Day.

Kelly Herold has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Big A, little a.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Picture Book Review: Abraham Lincoln Comes Home

Written by
Robert Burleigh
Illustrated by Wendell Minor
Henry Holt, 2008

Abraham Lincoln Comes Home is a fine picture book to share with young children during the Lincoln Bicentennial Year. It does not focus on Lincoln’s life or his presidency. It’s a book that relates the story of a young boy named Luke and his father who ride off one night in a horse and buggy in order to pay their respects to our country’s 16th president as his funeral train passes through their community. This is a story of a father and son sharing an emotional experience during a tragic time in our country’s history.

The Lincoln funeral train traveled over 1,600 miles on its route from Washington, D. C., to Springfield, Illinois. The journey took thirteen days. Funeral services were held in different northern cities through which the train passed. At night, people lit bonfires along the train tracks.

As the book begins, Luke and his father are headed off into the night in their buggy:

The buggy rumbled past the barn and through the rusty gate. A single lantern dangled from the near side of the horse’s harness. The lantern cast shadows that rose and fell with each bounce.

Along the way, Luke thinks about trains and the train carrying the dead president and about how he knew he would have liked Lincoln if he could have talked to Abe.

Luke and his father arrive at the train tracks—and thoughts turn to the funeral train and everything it had passed along the way.

How far it had come! Day after day, night after night into morning. Past cities and towns with tolling bells. Past speeches and silence. Past black drapes, heaped roses, archways of green leaves, and the sound of muffled drums.

Finally, Luke sees the funeral train approaching with the picture of Abraham Lincoln above the cowcatcher. He feels the “ground shiver under his feet.” Then he glances up at his father and sees tears streaming down his cheeks. This is the first time the young boy has ever seen his father cry. The train rumbles on and then…

The noise faded. The prairie swallowed the clack-clack-click, all the way to nothing.

No one speaks. People are quiet for a while. Then, it’s time to go. On the ride back home, Luke snuggles “against his father’s warm shoulder” and falls asleep as the sound of the buggy wheels make “him think of the train wheels, still turning.”

Wendell Minor wanted to capture the closeness of a warm father/son relationship for this book so he used a real father and son as models for his paintings. Meticulous in his research for his train illustrations, Minor also had photographs taken of a scale model of the steam engine Nashville and Lincoln’s funeral car made by Professor Wayne Wesolowski. The train is in the permanent collection of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield.

Wendell Minor's illustrations beautifully capture this historical event and convey the emotions and sorrow felt by Luke and his father. His paintings draw a reader “into” the story…and into this fictional boy’s experience of this solemn episode in our country’s past—especially the paintings of the buggy driving off into the distance under a star-strewn sky, Luke looking up at his father as tears stream down his father’s face, the funeral train rolling through the prairie just as pale light begins to spread across the horizon, and the image of Lincoln's face superimposed on the sky as Luke and his father head home.

Abraham Lincoln Comes Homes is a quiet, spare, and, at times, poetically told tale. Wendell Minor’s paintings take us “there”—to the prairie in 1865 as Lincoln’s funeral train passed through our country and into the pages of history.

In the back matter of the book, Robert Burleigh includes an Afterword and Interesting Facts about the Lincoln Funeral Train that contain a wealth of information about the journey of train and other "truly interesting" facts related to Lincoln’s death and the train’s journey.

Click here for a flipbook preview of Abraham Lincoln Comes Home at Wendell Minor’s website.

NOTE: I would like to send my heartfelt thanks to Wendell and Florence Minor for always responding promptly to my emails and telephone calls and to Wendell for giving me permission to post images of his illustrations from Abraham Lincoln Comes Home.

Of Books, Writing, & Reading Aloud

Following are links to some interesting newspaper articles and blog posts:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Pens v Sharks

We got some good news about Sergei Gonchar today.


Sergei who? I seem to vaguely remember an awesome high-scoring D-man we called Sarge, but he hasn't been around these parts in AGES! ;) Seriously, he's been cleared to resume playing hockey, and we should be seeing him on the ice soon. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!

Remember me?

Regardless of when Gonch actually makes his much anticipated comeback, the time for playing with desperation is now.


GO PENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

For I know that my redeemer liveth

My beloved friend and sister-in-Christ, Madam Chan, born AD 1916, returned to be with Christ Jesus her Lord on 6 February 2009, AD.
"For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:" Job 19:25-26

Dear Friends,

Thanks for stopping by my combined Word-Filled Wednesday and Thankful Thursday. Thanks for your comments, prayers and encouragements.

Sorry for my long silence. Sorry that I have not been able to visit most of you.

My health has not been good in the recent weeks and I was rather overwhelmed by various commitments at home and in church. I am compelled to slow down and rest whenever I can.

I do miss blogging and many of you. Thanks for stopping by. I will try my best to catch up with you as soon as I can!

I am thankful to God for giving me grace and strength daily.

I am thankful to God that my beloved friend and sister-in-Christ, Madam Chan, is now safe in the arm of Jesus. Our dear Lord called home this precious servant of His on Friday, 6 February 2009. Now she is in the presence of the One Who loved her and gave His life for her, to worship Him and enjoy His love and fellowship for all eternity without the hindrance of sin, sickness or sufferings.

I shared about a wonderful reunion with her recently after 10 years interval. Madam Chan is 93 years old and came to know the Lord more than 10 years ago and I was then given the privilege to minister to her. Thank God that she was baptised recently on 7 December 2008.

On the day of her baptism, she said that was the happiest day of her life. She was thrilled and overjoyed to become a part of the Church of Christ. She daily began to pray for her brothers and sisters-in-Christ in the church many of whom she has never met. Being bed-ridden due to her health, she was never able to go to church. But her love for the Lord and His people remain the same.

It is a comfort to be reminded that this is not our home. We too are pilgrims here sojourning for a season and travelling towards the celestial city. One day, we shall be with our Lord Who loved us and gave His life for us, to worship and enjoy His love and fellowship without hindrance.

Meanwhile, we must press on and run the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, seeking, loving and serving our Lord until He calls us home in His time.

Thanks again for stopping by. May God grant you a very blessed week. Take care.

CCTV staff ignored police intervention

All was as speculated in my earlier post. Though the police might not have been persistent enough. But the Question remains: who was so powerful that police intervention were rejected? What "title" did he throw at the police officer?

本报讯(记者安然)市消防局新闻发言人骆原上午透露, 昨夜中央电视台新址园区附属文化中心工地发生的火灾,原因已经初步查明。骆原表示:“ 火灾是由于工地现场内业主单位的人不听民警劝阻, 执意违法燃放烟花所造成的。”

据介绍, 着火的央视新址园区附属文化中心大楼, 分为演播大厅、数字化处理机房和北京文华东方酒店,目前尚未正式投入使用,也没有经过消防验收。消防部门的初步调查显示, 引燃大楼的烟花是一种礼花弹,属于A类烟花。在燃放过程中,曾有治安民警在现场劝阻,但是没有起到作用。

在晚上8时27分接到报警之后,119指挥中心迅速调派27个中队、85部消防车,共595名消防官兵前往扑救。作为主责中队的红庙消防中队首先到达现场, 指导员张建勇带领4名战士进入火场, 展开侦查工作, 并同时寻找被困在楼内的部分保安和工程项目负责人。在侦查火情过程中, 官兵们发现火情极为复杂, 于是从14楼下撤,此时烟气弥漫,视线受到影响,行动已经非常困难。下到8楼时,已经几乎难以行动。最终,有3名消防员成功到达了1层, 但随即与外界彻底失去联系。后续赶到的消防官兵立刻展开救援, 于晚上11时30分, 将被困于一层和八层的官兵解救出来。但张建勇因吸入大量有毒气体,抢救无效,不幸牺牲。在扑救期间,除张建勇外,还有6名消防员和1名工地工作人员受伤。

据消防局介绍, 张建勇生于1979年2月26日,本月即将迎来30岁生日。他1998年从沈阳入伍,2002年提干,牺牲前为副营职指导员。他的妻子目前在北京一家医院工作,父母在沈阳老家。今天上午,张建勇父母来到北京。

据介绍, 起火的大楼地上30层,地下3层,建筑面积10.3万平方米,部分面积过火,具体情况正在勘察中。火灾造成文化中心外立面严重受损,大楼西、南、东侧外墙装修材料过火。经过消防官兵的奋力扑救,火势没有蔓延到北外立面和演播大厅,也没有造成建筑主体结构损害。据目击者说, 火灾首先从楼顶着起来, 在短时间内沿外立面蔓延开来。骆原说,火灾蔓延如此之快,与建筑材料、建筑物高度都有直接关系。“30层的楼, 楼顶上的风力很大, 对火势蔓延产生了直接影响。”而且由于该楼尚未完全竣工, 楼内的消防设施不全, 赶来扑救的消防队即使使用98米的云梯车, 水枪也难以到达楼顶。目前, 有关部门已经查扣了尚未燃放的礼花弹等各种物证, 事故具体原因正在进一步调查中。

Fire In Nearby Television Culture Center Works Site in New CCTV Tower Site — Caused By Illegal Fireworks

Luo Yuan, the spokesman of the Beijing Municipal Fire Brigade, revealed this morning that causes for the fire last night at the Television Culture Center site have now initially been found out. Luo Yuan stated: “The fire was caused because STAFF OF THE BUILDING OWNER inside the site REFUSED TO listen to police advice AND INSISTED ON setting off fireworks in the site.”

As briefed, the building on fire is the Television Culture Center, which is split into a broadcast hall, a digitization room and the Mandarin Hotel, which are presently not in service and have not underwent fire brigade inspections. Fire brigade authorities investigations initially conclude that the fireworks that caused the fire was a Class A fireworks. DURING THE FIREWORK SHOW, Police were on hand to attempt to obstruct the fireworks from being set off, but attempts at obstruction WAS IN VAIN.

A fire report was received by the fire brigade at 20:27. The Beijing 119 fire brigade instruction center quickly dispatched 27 fire brigade groups, 85 cars and 595 fire fighters to extinguish the fire. The Hongmiao fire brigade was the main responsible group and arrived first on the scene. The instructor, Zhang Jianyong, guided four fire fighters and entered the scene, and at the same time, looked for some security guards and the project manager trapped in the building.

In discovering the fire, fire fighters found the situation extremely complex; hence they went down from the 14th floor. At this time, smoke was all over the place, hampering visibility; movement was extremely encumbered. Upon arriving at the 8th floor, it was almost impossible to move. In the very end, three fire fighters reached the ground floor, but immediately lost contact with the outside world. Fire fighters which arrived subsequently immediately started rescue operations, and rescued fire fighters trapped in floors 1 to 8. Unfortunately, Zhang Jianyong died due to inhaling excess amounts of poisonous gas. During the rescue operations, 6 other fire fighters and one other works site personnel were also injured, apart from Zhang Jianyong.

As briefed by the fire brigade authorities, Zhang Jianyong, born February 26, 1979, was supposed to turn 30 this year. He became a firefighter in 1998 and was promoted in 2002. Prior to his death, his post was a deputy-post instructor. His wife presently works at a hospital. His parents live in Shenyang. This morning, both parents arrived in Beijing.

As briefed, the building on fire had 30 floors above ground and 30 floors underground, with a building area of 103,000 square meters. Investigations are still ongoing in the parts burnt. The fire caused serious damage to the outside of the building, with the western, southern, and eastern parts of the exterior burnt. Thanks to rescue efforts by the fire fighters, the fire did not spread to the northern exterior and did not damage the main structure.

Eyewitnesses stated that the fire first started from the upper parts of the building, which then spread quickly to the outside. Luo Yuan said that the fire was able to spread so quickly due to the material used in renovating the building. “This was a 30-storey building with a lot of wind on the top part of the building, thereby directly impacting the duration of the fire.” In addition, due to the fact that the building was as yet unfinished and had incomplete fire fighting devices, water guns proved to be ineffective even when used with a 98-meter raised ladder.

Right now, associated departments have already taken hold of fireworks which were not set off, and are continuing the investigation leading to the cause.


違法放煙花致畄天火 央視道歉 2009年2月11日

【明 報專訊】中央電視台新址內的文化中心大樓前晚發生嚴重火災,造成1死7傷,北京消防局昨日證實,火災係央視不聽民警勸阻,執意違法燃放煙花所致,涉案疑犯 和物證已被警方監控。資料顯示,火災物業業主單位是中央電視台新台址建設工程辦公室,辦公室主任為今年50歲的央視副總工程師徐威。

北京市 公安局消防局副局長、新聞發言人駱原昨日稱,初步調查顯示,引燃大樓的煙花是禮花彈。業主單位前晚聘用湖南一間煙花爆竹公司人員,在大樓西南角空地上燃放 禮花彈,現場遺留上百個禮花彈桶以及玻璃鋼容器。駱原說:「這些禮花彈都屬於A類煙花,是北京市明令禁止燃放的產品。燃放時,曾有治安民警進行勸阻,然而 業主單位執意燃放。相關錄影資料都可以成為最終追究責任的有利證據。」

火燒6小時 1消防員殉職

火災造成1名消防員殉職,另 有6名消防員及1名工人受傷,附近的600多名居民被迫緊急疏散,整個東三環高速公路和地鐵10號線一度交通中斷。央視昨日對此發表道歉聲明,指對國家財 產受損「痛心」,對居民蒙受不便表示真誠道歉。但央視並無承認火災責任,只稱會配合當局調查。央視外事處負責人對媒體表示,不管查出誰人負責,都會秉公處 置,對施工外包方的責任,也會要求賠償道歉。


而據現場目擊者稱,火警是從大樓頂部逐漸向下蔓延, 估計是煙花點燃頂部塑料及泡膜隔熱物料,因大樓自動灑水裝置還未啟用,消防車水喉又射不到30層高的頂部,大火燃燒6小時才能被撲熄。有專業工程師向本報 表示,經此大火焚燒後,大樓即使主體結構未受損,修復難度亦不亞於重建。

據中新網報道,央視新址是已向中國人保財險投保,所投保險包括建工 一切險、施工設備財產險、僱主責任險,事故發生在保險合同期限內,人保財險已開始理賠作業。而大火殃及位於該樓內的北京文華東方酒店,總部位於香港的文華 東方酒店集團昨日表示,原計劃將於今年夏季啟用,但開業時間現在要延期。


Monday, February 9, 2009

The Lincoln Bicentennial: Book Lists & Resources

From the Lincoln Bicentennial Commission (1809-2009)

From the Lincoln Home National Historic Site

From The Lincoln Bicentennial Teacher Network


From Reading Rockets: Celebrating Abraham Lincoln’s 200th Year (Suggested Children’s Books)

From Scholastic: Celebrate Lincoln’s Bicentennial

Lincoln and Poetry

CCTV on fire


From the Fire Department















Some picture of the aftermath and about the deceased firefighter's story on sohu.

(via danwei) Now the police acknowledged/confirmed it was the "Class A" firework approved by CCTV itself which started this and CCTV issued an "apology" (and a photo from the East side, which was damaged much worse -- fire on the west side were weakened after 2130 and there was another series of explosion about 3/4 in height to the SE side)







This video showed very clearly how the fire started on the rooftop, you can see how high the firework went up to and how the building was "within range" of all fireworks, when the heart shaped (or elliptical, depending on your POV) fireworks were seen, you can see clearly large pack of smoke started on the rooftop. This was exactly what I witnessed as well, it was perhaps a couple minutes after the fire started. (I watched from a high floor and saw the fire before the smoke got big) -- more video links of how it started via B&W Cat
The person who took this video seems to be located on the NNE side of the building
(in china - on youku)

(outside china -- on youtube)

The aftermath -- looks like the structure is still there, despite a couple blasts last night. it is hard to see from this picture, but there are clear fire scars on the surface of the structure)
Fire started somewhere a bit to the left (north) of the small spire on the rooftop

The CCTV complex -- firework was set on the drive path between the main building and the "annex" (the one that was burnt). the fireworks were shot to about 50-60 stories high and explode into large spheres of smaller fireballs, radii of the spheres are about twice the width of the annex/hotel building -- which can now be seen by the video above)

On a clear day last summer (courtesy of my friend)

taken at 20.58om - started as small fire on the roof top, by 20:45 to 20:50 the roof started to collapse and fire spread to about 10 floors down to the hall (perhaps the hotel lobby). it took only a few minutes for the fire zone to multiply, showing that there are quite some flammable matters on the building

taken at 21:18pm - about the time of the first explosion


I was at a friend's apartment watching firework. As you probably know, fireworks are uninterrupted form all directions during Yuan Xiao in Beijing. However, those from the CCTV complex trumps all, they are 3 times bigger and 3 times higher! The traffic on East 3rd Ring soon went to a halt as drivers stops by the roadside to watch this spectacular show.

It started as splendid firework, unfortunately the wrong place was chosen for the show. The space between the 2 tower in the CCTV construction site (where the fireworks were set off) was just not open enough and fireballs often bounces on the glass wall of the "lesser tower"/"tower II"/Annex (the full name for that building is actually TVCC - TV Culture Center, which will host the studio, concert hall and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel). I got a bit worried watching that.

About 20 minutes into the show (about 820-825pm), a small fire was seen on the top of the tower, apparently due to one of the fireballs from the firework show. OMG! The firework shot to about 50-60 stories high, about 5 stories higher than the lesser tower but lower than the top of the main tower (the assymmetric boxer tower 大裤衩).

Fire trucks arrived in about 5-10 minutes, but it seems that they were unable to reach the top of the building. Had there been helicopter with water bomb, the fire could have been put out easier at that time. Otherwise, if there was water supply to the roof, things would also be easier.

Unfortunately, it seems the fire at the roof was not (or could not be) taken care of. By about 20:50 the fire lost controls, the roof started to collapse and starts to spread to lower floors. Then I knew it was over for this beautiful building. What a shame. 

At some point I wooried that there might be a WTC style collapse, especially when there were at least two major explosion between 2100 and 2200.

There would be very strict rules on fireworks next year -- need to be set on completely open space, not close to any building. This is what it should have been. Instead, many people did it on the roadside, or on the road, or just next to the buildings.

p.s. the fire seems to be under control by 2230pm, about 2 hours after it was started.

p.s.2. the fire was surely started by one of the fireballs from the firework show (see illustration on google satellite photo above). and it was almost certain that it was CCTV internal people who did the firework show, since those were the most expensive type of firework not seen anywhere else in Beijing tonight. I expect someone within CCTV will be punished.

p.s.3. you may have seen some photo with white spots on top of the fire, that was taken around the time the explosions happened.
p.s.4 The TVCC is 44 stories and 159 meter tall, the CCTV main (asymmetric) building is 234 meter tall.the firework shot to around 180-200 meters and it was much closer to TVCC. The whole complex cost 5bn RMB to build, which makes the TVCC perhaps around 1bn RMB, not including equipments inside, which was said to cost in the billions.


Class A/B/C/D fireworks

人民网科技北京2月10日电 据新华社消息,北京市公安局消防局副局长、新闻发言人骆原在十日举行的新闻发布会上说,央视新址北配楼火灾是由于业主单位不听民警劝阻执意燃放A类烟花所致。














Small Graces February Auction Begins Today!

Painting by Grace Lin

This painting is on auction NOW!

Ebay listing HERE!


Happy bidding!

You can read more about the Small Graces auctions here.

Help spread the word!!!