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Open Thread 27

October 23, 2009


*Much gratitude for our sweet Mary Sunshine for submitting this lovely picture!

  1. October 23, 2009 1:23 pm

    It’s been a whew week.

  2. October 23, 2009 3:16 pm

    Who are you telling? It’ll be a busy weekend too.

  3. October 23, 2009 3:54 pm

    I just finished typing the vocabulary words from my daughter’s Social Studies book, Unit 2. I will take those words and make a series of multiple choice, fill in the blank and matching tests. This is to prepare her for the end of the unit test in a week or two. Anyway, I noticed a pattern in the words, how they are in order to prepare the students for what will be next. I went back and checked her Social Studies book from last year and I see that the Unit 2 in 4th grade has the same theme as the Unit 2 in 5th grade, the only difference being the elaboration. Here is the list (I think it is hilarious that the 4th grade list starts with trade and ends with tax and then the 5th grade list starts with navigation and ends with settlement! Bastards!):

    4th grade Unit 2

    trade to exchange goods and services

    tradition a special way that a group does something, which is part of their way of life.

    custom a way a group of people does something.

    belief something held as true or real

    religion a system of faith and worship

    legend an old, well-known story

    explore to travel to places in order to learn more about them.

    current the pattern of the flow of water.

    colony a settlement of people who come from one country to live in another land

    expedition a journey made for a special purpose

    missionary a person who teaches his or her religion to people who have different beliefs

    mission a settlement set up by a religious group to teach their religion and other ways of life to native people

    Catholicism the religion of the Catholic Church

    fort a building used by soldiers to defend an important place

    occupy to take control of a place

    presidio a Spanish word for fort

    pueblo a Spanish word for village

    land grant land given by a government

    rancho a large area of land where crops are grown and horses, cattle, sheep, and pigs are raised

    economy the system of producing and consuming goods in a country, state, or local area

    hunter-gatherer a person who gets food by hunting animals and gathering plants

    dam a wall built to hold back water

    cultivate to prepare and use land to grow crops

    irrigation the use of pipes or ditches to bring water to where it is needed

    government a country’s laws and leaders

    territory a geographic area that relies on an outside government but usually has some independence

    boundary a line or natural feature that separates one area, state, or country from another.

    tax money the government collects to pay for its services

    5th grade Unit 2

    navigation a science used by sailors to find their place and plan their route

    magnetic compass a tool that shows which direction is north

    astrolabe a tool hat helped sailors use the sun and stars to find their location

    expedition a long and carefully organized trip

    entrepreneur a person who starts a new business

    latitude a distance north or south of the equator, usually measured in degrees

    longitude a distance east or west of the prime meridian, usually measured in degrees

    cartography a person who makes maps or charts

    colony an area or place that is ruled by a distance country

    reform to change

    convert to change someone’s or one’s own beliefs

    emperor the ruler of an empire

    circumnavigation the act of sailing around something

    mission a place set up by a religious group to teach religion and other ways of life to native people

    trading post a place where people meet to trade goods

    tributary a river that flows into a larger river or lake

    slavery the practice of owning people and forcing them to work without pay

    charter an official document from an authority to do something

    settlement a place to live that is set up in a new area

    • October 23, 2009 4:01 pm

      Oh come on! Look at the order! Pure gold.

      missionary a person who teaches his or her religion to people who have different beliefs

      mission a settlement set up by a religious group to teach their religion and other ways of life to native people

      Catholicism the religion of the Catholic Church

      fort a building used by soldiers to defend an important place

      occupy to take control of a place

    • atheistwoman permalink
      October 23, 2009 7:31 pm

      LOL. Those school teachers and their agendas!

      My teachers had rather the opposite agenda, I’m afraid. Something about Christopher Columbus and you know how great he was and all that.
      And come on we were not doing that sort of thing in fourth grade. I feel robbed! We are covering it now though, Ten years later. Oy.

  4. atheistwoman permalink
    October 23, 2009 7:31 pm

    Love the new picture by the way :-).

  5. atheistwoman permalink
    October 23, 2009 7:49 pm

  6. atheistwoman permalink
    October 23, 2009 7:49 pm


  7. October 24, 2009 1:55 am

    Next time you think you have it rough:



    FOR a considerable time the woman walked on. Her steps
    became feebler, and she strained her eyes to look afar upon
    the naked road, now indistinct amid the penumbrae of night.
    At length her onward walk dwindled to the merest totter, and
    she opened a gate within which was a haystack. Underneath
    this she sat down and presently slept.

    When the woman awoke it was to find herself in the depths of
    a moonless and starless night. A heavy unbroken crust of
    cloud stretched across the sky, shutting out every speck of
    heaven; and a distant halo which hung over the town of
    Casterbridge was visible against the black concave, the
    luminosity appearing the brighter by its great contrast with
    the circumscribing darkness. Towards this weak, soft glow
    the woman turned her eyes.

    “If I could only get there!” she said. “Meet him the day
    after to-morrow: God help me! Perhaps I shall be in my
    grave before then.”

    A manor-house clock from the far depths of shadow struck the
    hour, one, in a small, attenuated tone. After midnight the
    voice of a clock seems to lose in breadth as much as in
    length, and to diminish its sonorousness to a thin falsetto.

    Afterwards a light — two lights — arose from the remote
    shade, and grew larger. A carriage rolled along the toad,
    and passed the gate. It probably contained some late
    diners-out. The beams from one lamp shone for a moment upon
    the crouching woman, and threw her face into vivid relief.
    The face was young in the groundwork, old in the finish; the
    general contours were flexuous and childlike, but the finer
    lineaments had begun to be sharp and thin.

    The pedestrian stood up, apparently with revived
    determination, and looked around. The road appeared to be
    familiar to her, and she carefully scanned the fence as she
    slowly walked along. Presently there became visible a dim
    white shape; it was another milestone. She drew her fingers
    across its face to feel the marks.

    “Two more!” she said.

    She leant against the stone as a means of rest for a short
    interval, then bestirred herself, and again pursued her way.
    For a slight distance she bore up bravely, afterwards
    flagging as before. This was beside a lone copsewood,
    wherein heaps of white chips strewn upon the leafy ground
    showed that woodmen had been faggoting and making hurdles
    during the day. Now there was not a rustle, not a breeze,
    not the faintest clash of twigs to keep her company. The
    woman looked over the gate, opened it, and went in. Close
    to the entrance stood a row of faggots, bound and un-bound,
    together with stakes of all sizes.

    For a few seconds the wayfarer stood with that tense
    stillness which signifies itself to be not the end but
    merely the suspension, of a previous motion. Her attitude
    was that of a person who listens, either to the external
    world of sound, or to the imagined discourse of thought. A
    close criticism might have detected signs proving that she
    was intent on the latter alternative. Moreover, as was
    shown by what followed, she was oddly exercising the faculty
    of invention upon the speciality of the clever Jacquet Droz,
    the designer of automatic substitutes for human limbs.

    By the aid of the Casterbridge aurora, and by feeling with
    her hands, the woman selected two sticks from the heaps.
    These sticks were nearly straight to the height of three or
    four feet, where each branched into a fork like the letter
    Y. She sat down, snapped off the small upper twigs, and
    carried the remainder with her into the road. She placed
    one of these forks under each arm as a crutch, tested them,
    timidly threw her whole weight upon them — so little that
    it was — and swung herself forward. The girl had made for
    herself a material aid.

    The crutches answered well. The pat of her feet, and the
    tap of her sticks upon the highway, were all the sounds that
    came from the traveller now. She had passed the last
    milestone by a good long distance, and began to look
    wistfully towards the bank as if calculating upon another
    milestone soon. The crutches, though so very useful, had
    their limits of power. Mechanism only transfers labour,
    being powerless to supersede it, and the original amount of
    exertion was not cleared away; it was thrown into the body
    and arms. She was exhausted, and each swing forward became
    fainter. At last she swayed sideways, and fell.

    Here she lay, a shapeless heap, for ten minutes and more.
    The morning wind began to boom dully over the flats, and to
    move afresh dead leaves which had lain still since
    yesterday. The woman desperately turned round upon her
    knees, and next rose to her feet. Steadying herself by the
    help of one crutch, she essayed a step, then another, then a
    third, using the crutches now as walking-sticks only. Thus
    she progressed till descending Mellstock Hill another
    milestone appeared, and soon the beginning of an iron-railed
    fence came into view. She staggered across to the first
    post, clung to it, and looked around.

    The Casterbridge lights were now individually visible, It
    was getting towards morning, and vehicles might be hoped
    for, if not expected soon. She listened. There was not a
    sound of life save that acme and sublimation of all dismal
    sounds, the bark of a fox, its three hollow notes being
    rendered at intervals of a minute with the precision of a
    funeral bell.

    “Less than a mile!” the woman murmured. “No; more,” she
    added, after a pause. “The mile is to the county hall, and
    my resting-place is on the other side Casterbridge. A
    little over a mile, and there I am!” After an interval she
    again spoke. “Five or six steps to a yard — six perhaps.
    I have to go seventeen hundred yards. A hundred times six,
    six hundred. Seventeen times that. O pity me, Lord!”

    Holding to the rails, she advanced, thrusting one hand
    forward upon the rail, then the other, then leaning over it
    whilst she dragged her feet on beneath.

    This woman was not given to soliloquy; but extremity of
    feeling lessens the individuality of the weak, as it
    increases that of the strong. She said again in the same
    tone, “I’ll believe that the end lies five posts forward,
    and no further, and so get strength to pass them.”

    This was a practical application of the principle that a
    half-feigned and fictitious faith is better than no faith at

    She passed five posts and held on to the fifth.

    “I’ll pass five more by believing my longed-for spot is at
    the next fifth. I can do it.”

    She passed five more.

    “It lies only five further.”

    She passed five more.

    “But it is five further.”

    She passed them.

    “That stone bridge is the end of my journey,” she said, when
    the bridge over the Froom was in view.

    She crawled to the bridge. During the effort each breath of
    the woman went into the air as if never to return again.

    “Now for the truth of the matter,” she said, sitting down.
    “The truth is, that I have less than half a mile.” Self-
    beguilement with what she had known all the time to be false
    had given her strength to come over half a mile that she
    would have been powerless to face in the lump. The artifice
    showed that the woman, by some mysterious intuition, had
    grasped the paradoxical truth that blindness may operate
    more vigorously than prescience, and the short-sighted
    effect more than the far-seeing; that limitation, and not
    comprehensiveness, is needed for striking a blow.

    The half-mile stood now before the sick and weary woman like
    a stolid Juggernaut. It was an impassive King of her world.
    The road here ran across Durnover Moor, open to the road on
    either side. She surveyed the wide space, the lights,
    herself, sighed, and lay down against a guard-stone of the

    Never was ingenuity exercised so sorely as the traveller
    here exercised hers. Every conceivable aid, method,
    stratagem, mechanism, by which these last desperate eight
    hundred yards could be overpassed by a human being
    unperceived, was revolved in her busy brain, and dismissed
    as impracticable. She thought of sticks, wheels, crawling —
    she even thought of rolling. But the exertion demanded by
    either of these latter two was greater than to walk erect.
    The faculty of contrivance was worn out, Hopelessness had
    come at last.

    “No further!” she whispered, and closed her eyes.

    From the stripe of shadow on the opposite side of the bridge
    a portion of shade seemed to detach itself and move into
    isolation upon the pale white of the road. It glided
    noiselessly towards the recumbent woman.

    She became conscious of something touching her hand; it was
    softness and it was warmth. She opened her eye’s, and the
    substance touched her face. A dog was licking her cheek.

    He was a huge, heavy, and quiet creature, standing darkly
    against the low horizon, and at least two feet higher than
    the present position of her eyes. Whether Newfoundland,
    mastiff, bloodhound, or what not, it was impossible to say.
    He seemed to be of too strange and mysterious a nature to
    belong to any variety among those of popular nomenclature.
    Being thus assignable to no breed, he was the ideal
    embodiment of canine greatness — a generalization from what
    was common to all. Night, in its sad, solemn, and
    benevolent aspect, apart from its stealthy and cruel side,
    was personified in this form. Darkness endows the small and
    ordinary ones among mankind with poetical power, and even
    the suffering woman threw her idea into figure.

    In her reclining position she looked up to him just as in
    earlier times she had, when standing, looked up to a man.
    The animal, who was as homeless as she, respectfully
    withdrew a step or two when the woman moved, and, seeing
    that she did not repulse him, he licked her hand again.

    A thought moved within her like lightning. “Perhaps I can
    make use of him — I might do it then!”

    She pointed in the direction of Casterbridge, and the dog
    seemed to misunderstand: he trotted on. Then, finding she
    could not follow, he came back and whined.

    The ultimate and saddest singularity of woman’s effort and
    invention was reached when, with a quickened breathing, she
    rose to a stooping posture, and, resting her two little arms
    upon the shoulders of the dog, leant firmly thereon, and
    murmured stimulating words. Whilst she sorrowed in her
    heart she cheered with her voice, and what was stranger than
    that the strong should need encouragement from the weak was
    that cheerfulness should be so well stimulated by such utter
    dejection. Her friend moved forward slowly, and she with
    small mincing steps moved forward beside him, half her
    weight being thrown upon the animal. Sometimes she sank as
    she had sunk from walking erect, from the crutches, from the
    rails. The dog, who now thoroughly understood her desire
    and her incapacity, was frantic in his distress on these
    occasions; he would tug at her dress and run forward. She
    always called him back, and it was now to be observed that
    the woman listened for human sounds only to avoid them. It
    was evident that she had an object in keeping her presence
    on the road and her forlorn state unknown.

    Their progress was necessarily very slow. They reached the
    bottom of the town, and the Casterbridge lamps lay before
    them like fallen Pleiads as they turned to the left into the
    dense shade of a deserted avenue of chestnuts, and so
    skirted the borough. Thus the town was passed, and the goal
    was reached.

    On this much-desired spot outside the town rose a
    picturesque building. Originally it had been a mere case to
    hold people. The shell had been so thin, so devoid of
    excrescence, and so closely drawn over the accommodation
    granted, that the grim character of what was beneath showed
    through it, as the shape of a body is visible under a

    Then Nature, as if offended, lent a hand. Masses of ivy
    grew up, completely covering the walls, till the place
    looked like an abbey; and it was discovered that the view
    from the front, over the Casterbridge chimneys, was one of
    the most magnificent in the county. A neighbouring earl
    once said that he would give up a year’s rental to have at
    his own door the view enjoyed by the inmates from theirs —
    and very probably the inmates would have given up the view
    for his year’s rental.

    This stone edifice consisted of a central mass and two
    wings, whereon stood as sentinels a few slim chimneys, now
    gurgling sorrowfully to the slow wind. In the wall was a
    gate, and by the gate a bellpull formed of a hanging wire.
    The woman raised herself as high as possible upon her knees,
    and could just reach the handle. She moved it and fell
    forwards in a bowed attitude, her face upon her bosom.

  8. Mary Sunshine permalink
    October 27, 2009 9:25 am

    Oops … better sign in.

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