This week is definitely going to involve me dipping into the archives and running some comics I’ve posted on my website but never on Tumblr before.
- Try not to ask a question for which you need an immediate answer; I’ve received a few of those and did my best to answer promptly, but I’m going to try and bank a bunch of these for when my wife has her baby. I don’t imagine I’ll be posting these strips until the end of March/beginning of April.
- Remember I’m happy to answer non-teaching questions!
…and now heres something we hope you’ll really like!
Yes, this week I decided to pay tribute to Jay Ward and The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle. I was a regular watcher of the show as a kid in reruns and was a big booster of the series to all my friends. I had VHS cassettes and would pass them around saying “This is just like The Simpsons, just thirty years earlier!”
Of course I ended the week with Mr. Peabody and Sherman, in honor of their big budget movie released this weekend… but truth be told, I have no desire to see a modern adaptation of those characters. I imagine Dreamworks has built-in a sentimental backstory into Mr. Peabody’s Improbable History, whereas I always felt one of the strengths of those cartoons was how unexplainably remote and snappish Mr. Peabody was to all around him. I guess it doesn’t really matter what they do with the movie… the old cartoons still exist and can be enjoyed. At best, maybe that new flick will give the old show some visibility!
(I should point out that “Quiet you!” is an invention of The Simpsons during an extended P&S parody from early seasons.)
A few other pictures from the AAUW used book sale I went to this weekend. The sale was held in a beautiful old bank which, like a lot of downtown Middletown, has fallen into disuse.
I’m a fairly regular thrift store shopper and I can tell you, 2014 is the year when everyone is getting rid of their Twilight hardcovers and paperbacks, just as 2012 seemed to be the year people divested themselves of their Harry Potter hardcovers. When Twilight was all the rage, I tried to resist buying copies of the Twilight series for my classroom, knowing full well they’d be plentiful in Goodwills very soon. It looks like we’ve reached that point. I predict Stephanie Meyer’s vampiric soap opera will not have the staying power of J.K. Rowling’s work and I’ll spend a significant portion of future thrift store expeditions digging through unsold copies of New Moon and Eclipse.
I always have a general list of books I’m looking for when I walk into a used book sale situation. I’ll have my dream finds that I know I’d have to get really lucky to stumble across. Previously, the book I most looked for was Superman: Miracle Monday by Elliot S. Maggin… A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny is now my most hoped for find.
Next down on the list are books I may not get to read right away but are those that can be put aside for sometime in the future. I’m currently snapping up as many Ian Rankin paperbacks as I can find, as I like his Inspector Rebus novels.
I had picked up Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry for this reason. Lonesome Dove sat on my bedside table for the better part of two years before I picked it up in January and tore through it. I’m comfortable with saying Lonesome Dove is one of my favorite novels now and while some of the sadder elements of that book threw me, I was comforted in knowing there were several sequels and prequels out there for me to enjoy.
I decided to move ahead chronologically and next read Streets of Laredo in the series… but for two months, I could not find that sucker! It’s incredibly strange, as McMurtry paperbacks aren’t exactly a rarity in most used book stores and thrift shops. I found Dead Man’s Walk with no problem. I found Comanche Moon easily. I just COULD NOT FIND STREETS OF LAREDO!
Finally I broke down and bought a brand new copy from Barnes & Noble with a gift card my parents gave me this past Christmas
…only to find TWO copies of Streets of Laredo at this sale yesterday.
That’s just how it goes when you’re a bookhound, I guess but man, I swear. I looked EVERYWHERE for a copy of this book before I bought new.
Every March, the American Association of University Women holds a used book sale in the town where I work. This is a yearly event my family looks forwards to with a lot of zeal, as we’re all bookworms and the prices are fantastic. While Sunday is the big event ($6 bucks gets you a paper bag you can fill up to the tip-top with whatever fits), we went by on Friday afternoon to have a looksee. Here are some of my finds.
My best find was The Ren & Stimpy Show: Tastes Like Chicken, the second trade collecting four issues of Marvel Comics’ adaptation of the groundbreaking animated series from the 1990’s. While most comic book adaptations are fairly lackluster, the Ren & Stimpy comics matched the tone and tenor of the Nickelodeon series fairly well, with dynamic art from Mike Kazaleh and scripts from current Spider-Man scribe Dan Slott. In fact, Tastes Like Chicken collects what I believe is Slott’s first work on the character, an extended crossover/team-up between ol’ Spidey and Ren & Stimpy’s favorite superhero, Powdered Toast Man.
Another cool find, a Classics Illustrated version of Hamlet, adapted by Steven Grant and Tom Mandrake. I’m a big fan of Mandrake’s superhero pencils on DC Comics’ mid-1990’s version of The Spectre and it’s interesting to see him working in another gear here. Mandrake’s pencils combined with Gary Fields’ inks provide for a very different feel than I’m used to seeing from this artist; these pages have a quality to them that reminds me more of Charles Vess than anyone else. This one’s going in my classroom lending library.
These booksales are usually a great place to find old paperbacks but on this score, I was a little letdown. I picked up The Mask of Fu Manchu by Sax Rohmer because I’ve never read any of the Fu Manchu books. I’m familiar with the character from comics and movies but beyond that, it’ll be interesting to check out. I also picked up Logan’s Search by William F. Nolan, the third book from the series that began with Logan’s Run. I don’t have much interest in this series and further research tells me that Logan’s Search is kind of a warmed-over rehash of the original book… but I got it for a quarter, so no big loss.
Two nostalgic purchases: The Simple Solution to Rubik’s Cube is a 64 page paperback with elaborately drawn diagrams that purport to explain how best to navigate the famous puzzle toy of the 1980’s. I guess to author James G. Nourse, “simple” meant “ridiculously complicated” because I can’t make heads or tails of this thing. However, it’s a good purchase for me; Rubik’s Cubes have been weirdly popular amongst my students in the past three years and perhaps a slim volume like this will come in handy for some kid somewhere.
I also bought Spiders & Scorpions for a similarly silly reason - that little “12 Collector Stickers Inside” label reminded me of book fairs of the past. I was surprised to find this book had a complete set of spider stickers UNUSED. I’m giving it to my sons as I write this and fully expect to find these stickers plastered all over their bedrooms by tomorrow morning.
Here are a couple more pictures from our summative Code Name Verity project where students had to plan a party for the class. I divide the “party planning” into a bunch of smaller activities like create themed decorations, design a game based on the reading, and write a menu using the characters and situations from the novel as inspiration. There are few other writing tasks groups have to complete, but they’re not as photogenic as the ones here.
It doesn’t happen all that often, but it’s happening today - I’m taking a sick day for reasons too graphic to go into. I absolutely HATE taking sick days, I hate taking them on Fridays even more (the most popular hooky day for professionals), and I absolutely hate taking a sick day on a payday Friday… but I guess this is an occasional hazard of the job.
If I could show tonight’s dystopian-themed episode of Community to my senior class tomorrow… I totally would.
The very best thing about this week so far is the way Ilana pronounces “sandwich shop” on the episode of Broad City we’re watching on Hulu right now.
That last panel is one of the reasons why it’s VERY important to have clear rubrics for a project like this. Make sure there’s no vagueness in your expectations!
This is really an amazing piece of work. It’s the kind of thing there’s no measure for on standardized tests or Common Core Curriculums but… as an educator when you see students connecting with a text so thoroughly and bringing their talents to bear in showing how that text works? It’s a wonderful thing.
You can see comics about the last time I used this project here, when my classes were reading Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan. I like giving class projects with have eight or nine little pieces that, when put together, add up to one big thing.
I’m glad to hear it!
I draw a picture of myself on my classroom’s chalkboard everyday. I collect those pictures as camera phone photos and post them on Sundays. See the rest here.
This week is themed around Marvel’s first family, the Fantastic Four, a group of characters I had a go at last year but didn’t feel like I did much justice. I learned something important from this week of chalkboard drawings: if you don’t think Jack Kirby is a genius… just TRY and draw The Thing sometime and that will change your mind. That orange rock man is damn near IMPOSSIBLE to capture.
Tuesday was a tribute to Harold Ramis but if I hadn’t had to draw that, I probably would have shoehorned Galactus in here. I may still do that somewhere down the road.