elvish, mithral, and other lovelies

Again, borrowed, but I love this article.

Yes, I think that it is time that homeschoolers everywhere should consider offering Elvish. : )

In other news, I have had a personal crisis to manage since "returning to health" from the flu bug. Alexander has managed pretty well, despite my erratic behavior during said crisis. And he has insisted on going to the guitar store (see recent post below re- starting a band), so he seems to be above the fray. Thank goodness.

We are beginning Homer's Iliad, then Marcus Aurelius's Essays, then we'll jump into Beowulf. Alexander enjoys reminding me about Beowulf being in the curriculum. A lot.

"Can we get the Beowulf book with the mithral-looking stuff you can touch?"


kids are in da house

about 5 kids are here listening to A play the violin. There is a girl in the room. "Wow, that's really good!" the girl exclaims. There is an electric guitar here (+ the girl = better violin playing from Alexander). I hear talk of starting a band. Oh my, oh my...

Other musings: We are over the flu bug.

Edit: TMI!!!! (Too Much Information)

Fingers crossed.



A and I have been sick for the past couple of days. Excuse the very short hiatus from this blog. Thanks.



Disinfect your school? Lucky we don't have to?


United Nations tour

If you are a homeschooling parent, and plan to visit the United Nations in New York City, here is a good link for you. Alexander and I will be taking a similar tour at the UN this week.

Although the United Nations is not a perfect organization, I do believe it is the most viable organization for world conflict resolution. On our academic agenda will be a discussion of what important issues have been presented to the U.N., and what issues have succeeded/failed at the U.N. level.

Today's tasks: Latin, The Iliad, Wordly Wise Test, Singapore Math. A has just finished reading The Thief Lord.
James, our violin teacher, called earlier to cancel our class today. Yippee....more museum time for us! : D Edit: we are going to get a haircut on our normally-scheduled violin time.


Alexander plays the violin. His previous violin teacher thought it might be a good idea if A learned the cello. A's current violin teacher considers him a "bright" violin student. Yet the quandary I find myself in is, should A learn a second string instrument? A wants to learn cello and listens to Bach cello tunes.



Writing Strands "Half-kitten, Half-duckling" (cont'd)

The kitten then followed the ducklings as the ducklings followed their mother. The kitten felt something...an urge to have a duckling for supper! But the kitten knew that would not be duckly-like, and stopped itself from attacking any bird. The ducklings saw the kitten chase a mouse. They thought it was odd at first, until they figured out the kitten belonged to another species. They did not seem to care much. The ducklings did not care what the kitten ate as long it as it wasn't them.

activism 102 (warning: orange-level political post)

...it's activism 102 because we've already marched for AIDS awareness before.

This afternoon, Alexander and I stumbled across the largest protest march in New York City since the United States began last year's sojourn into Iraq. Today's march marked the one year anniversary of the same event. Serendipitously finding ourselves with a hunger to do something different on 6th Avenue and 23rd Street, Alexander and I decided to walk with the marchers. If anything, we could see where the march went, and hopefully see ourselves on t.v.

Flyer man: "Communist newsletter, please take one!"
Me: "Erm..no thank you."
Flyer man: "Free Palestine!"
Me: "Erm...thanks but I'm here about our U.S. troops in Iraq?"
Flyer man: "Vote for Kucinich!"
Me: "Erm...no, really, no."
Flyer man: "Get the U.S. out of Haiti!"
Me: "Erm...yeah, ok."
Flyer man: "Legalize medical marijuana!"
Me: "Hmm...ah...pass. I have a kid here."

And on it went. U.S. flags. Doumbek players. A group of three young girls in pink with Barbie dolls and their mom. There was a group of tuxedo-ed gentlemen with "Billionaires for Bush" and "*&^% the Poor" signs (all in satire) who sang a capella tunes that were really rather good. Reminded me of the barber shop quartets at Disney World. Somebody dumped a bucket of water from the 10th floor of a high-rise at a group of people in front of us. A woman who looked about 70-years old had been marching in that spot. At our 3 o'clock were muslim women in headcoverings who walked together and shouted catchy chants REALLY LOUDLY. A very jewish-looking curly-haired lady- photog took a bunch of photos of these women. When a journalist approached one of the muslim women for a quote, the interviewee suddenly became shy and reserved. A priest walked behind us. A bunch of cheerleaders with pink pom-poms walked behind the priest.

I bumped into a Columbia Business School sweatshirt-wearing marcher.

It was sunny. Alexander and I talked about the United Nations, international laws, and grabbing a latte. His feet began to bother him as we turned onto Madison Ave.

One gentleman stood on a sidewalk with a placard which read, "9/11 mural demonstrates Iraq link" with a picture of the infamous Saddam mural showing the twin towers ablaze. Alexander did not understand the mural on the placard. I explained how it was found in Iraq. A group of marchers were verbally harassing this man. Alexander was worried something would happen to him. "Leave him alone," an older black woman activist mumbled. "Get off our street!" some marchers yelled at him. The man was surrounded by cops. "Actually, it's his street, too," I told Alexander. We walked to a Starbucks for a break.

Alexander's feet were sore by the time we'd walked across the mid-belly of the island of Manhattan. We tried to find a park bench to rest. A cop stopped us and told us "No sitting on the park benches." He looked at Alexander. The cop relented.

Me to cop: "So, where are you from?"
Cop: "New York."
Me: "No, really. De donde es usted? "
Cop: "OK, Ok, I'm from Puerto Rico. You?"
Me: "My mom is from (name of latin country). My dad is from (name of European country). This sort of thing would never be possible in my mother's country."
Cop: "They'd hang your mother's people there."
Me: "I know."
Cop to Alexander: "So, your feet ok?"
Alexander: "They're ok."
Cop to Alexander: "Sit a little longer, ok?"
Me to cop: "Thanks for your service. Really."
Cop: "I really hope this march gets somebody's attention. I really hope things get better over there."
Me: "Me, too."
[Alexander stands up]
Me: "Bueno, gracias por su ayuda..."
Cop: "Por nada."

I disagree. Whatever reason we chose to find ourselves there today, it was for something, por algo, even if we did not immediately recognize it.


Writing Strands Ex. #3 Write and Rewrite a Sentence

First Draft, Days Two Through Four (no. 1 & 2, four sentences each):

"Half Kitten, Half Duckling" by Alexander

Once the kitten saw the duckling eat the corn, it went over to eat some, too. When it took a small morsel of corn into its mouth, it hated the corn so much that it detested the thought of any vegetable ever grown. It later got used to the corn, and started to eat more. After eating, it felt sick and threw up.

The kitten saw the ducklings go into the pond. It too, went in. It hated having to touch the water but now found itself falling into the pond. It nearly drowned but it managed to run back to the shore. When it did, it dried off by the nearest tree.


dreaming in Passion...not

Last night I had a dream that I was watching The Passion, only, I was in The Passion. Only it wasn't really the same movie. I was walking along the streets in the Old City...which became very vivid, as I had actually visited several times (I visited during the intifada, too. Not a good time). Because I knew there was violence in the movie, I wanted to get out of the Old City and this dream. There were Roman people there. Romans in Jerusalem make a nasty brew.

There was a guy who looked like J.C., but he sort of looked like my hippie Jewish friend from college, Natan. Natan wore Naot sandals from Israel and had a beautiful beard and eyes of doe-like kindness. He seemed sweeter than Ethan on Survivor. He was unusually gentle, loved everything and everyone, and had a sublime smile. Yes, I think Natan was Christ. Jeanine Garafolo was Natan's girlfriend. I don't know why. Natan's real-life girlfriend looked like a cuter version of Renee Zellweger (which is why, in real life, I never went after Natan myself).

I could not find Monica Bellucci in the dream, which is really a shame, because I really would have liked to have gone biblical clothing shopping with Ms. Bellucci. Alas.

"erm, mom?"

God is love.

Love is blind.

Ray Charles is blind.

Therefore, Ray Charles is God.

(A = B, B= C, D = C, therefore D = A)

A fallacious argument, but good comic relief from the rest of this New Testament-heavy logic book.

Introductory Logic by Wilson and Nance. Statements and Their Relationships, pre-Exercise Six.

New shopping list: Critical Thinking's Mind Benders CD-ROM (If anyone has any suggestions for a textbook that is good and solid and areligious, do be kind and let me know your recommendation...TWTM recommends Critical Thinking Book One "[f]or those who prefer to use a different text".) Singapore Math Wiggle Woods CD-ROM Grades 5-6; pastel paints which I still haven't purchased; a new globe; some fun classroom signs from the Librerie Francaise. And maybe a frame for the National Geographic atlas we have on our wall.


tenement museum

It was interesting, depressing, and inspiring. We took the "Getting By" tour. We viewed the Gumpertz apartment and the Baldizzi apartment. I was saddened by Nathalie Gumpertz's story. Her husband Julius walked out of their home one day and never returned (quite common in the late 1860's and early 1870's for men to leave their families and plan their own disappearance, apparently). One of her children died after her husband left. After a few months she started a sewing business from her tiny apartment, selling dresses at $3 a dress. It took five days to make a dress.
There is a happy ending for Nathalie, though. She came into a $600 inheritance meant for Julius. All her neighbors wrote legal petitions attesting to his disappearance, so that Nathalie could legally inherit the money in his absence. Nathalie got the money and moved to the Upper East Side. Good for her.


Diary of a 6th grade homexchoolin' Mammy in Noo Yawk City. Move on over, Parents League...

"ah's puttin' togither a BOTOX PARTY fundraizzu. Not thet ah's implyin' thet yo' NEED it, but eff'n yo', o' ennyone yo' know, is interested in givin' it a try, o' givin' it as a gif', please corntack me. ah have a docko' an' a venue in mind, cuss it all t' tarnation. All proceeds will hoof it to breast kincer research."

Thanks to Sarah at Poppins Classical Academy for this fun. The above is in "Redneck" dialect.

Foundation presentation, snow = sleep in a bit longer...

It has been rumored that today is a half day in NYC schools today (I cannot verify this). And it is snowing something wicked outside.

Today A has research at the river. Foundation presentation before that. We'll miss the presentation only, in favor of a late brunch, a la Dunkin Donuts (I don't have the ingredients to make huevos rancheros, which I do in denial of the weather outside)...

I can't imagine what it will be like if A has to set up traps by boat in the snow.

We then go to the Tenement Museum later this afternoon.

Need to plan trip to the U.N. Alexander to write a letter to Kofi Annan post-visit.


would you like some cancer research with your botchulism?

I have just received this e-mail from a parent from the school A attended last year:

"I am putting together a BOTOX PARTY fundraiser.
Not that I'm implying that you NEED it, but if you, or anyone you
know, is interested in giving it a try, or giving it as a gift,
please contact me. I have a doctor and a venue in mind. All
proceeds will go to breast cancer research. "


thank you

In the spirit of recognition of all of Alexander's tutors, teachers, and supervisors, I am going to write thank you notes to each of them:


Dear James,

You are too cool, dude. Like, ice cold. And your 'fro just rocks my world. I still don't understand why you perform viola yet teach violin, or why you have 10 earrings and a chain hanging from your jeans, but what matters it, thus? You went to Juilliard. Alexander relates to you. And your music program performs at Carnegie Hall every year...with Yitzchak Perlman, Yo Yo Ma and Midori. That's kickin'. What more could a parent want?

You rock.



Ocean Science internship:

Dear Chris,

I truly am appreciative of all the guidance and mentorship you provide to Alexander. You are truly an asset to the world of ocean science, as demonstrated by your thorough and enthusiastic teaching methods, including the direction you've given to Alexander with respect to research methods regarding the northeastern oyster...
Plus, you're cute, you have good taste in film, and your smile makes me giggle. What more could a parent want?

Very truly yours,


Hebrew School -

Dear Rabbi B.,

Shalom! Thanks so much for taking A on for Hebrew class!!! Your chesed is beyond belief! His Bar Mitzvah will certainly bring me nachus, and he won't let you down! He is already becoming quite the mensche!!! Thank you for being such a wonderful role model!!! Let's definitely talk more about the starting the shul/mosque peace dialogue!

Shalom, Shalom!!


P.S. By the way, thanks so much for the gift you brought A from India!! We're so ready to fly to India next year and do yoga with you and the shul! What more could a parent want? Would you like our deposit now? Send me an e-mail and let me know.


Chere Catherine,

Nous vous remercions pour tout votre instruction en francais cette annee.

(And could you maybe take A to the museum a little more often? Thanks.)

Merci, Catherine!!

la Maitresse

Phys. Ed. -

Dear Judy,

You've been great on the swimming instruction! I have no idea what you are instructing/saying to the kids behind the glass and in the pool, but no matter! They're kickin'! What more could a parent want? Will re-enroll next term!



Summer Trip to the South Pacific-

Dear Ellen,

Lawn Guy-land is just toooo much fun each time we go there! No, really, one hour each direction is really No Big Deal!!!! A is really getting a lot of socialization time with your group (and you know how important that is for us homeschoolers, wink, wink!). What more could a parent want? Can't wait to hear about all his adventures Down Under, mkay?!




Japan in one day

Naoko's visit in NYC has really opened my eyes to the consumer and cultural world of the Japanese who live here. We visited Kinokuniya bookstore in Midtown. They have a huge selection of manga and Japanese language books for non-Japanese students which Alexander was too thrilled about. Good selection of DVDs for children, also, including Miyazaki's Spirited Away and other of his lesser-known but equally amazing works.
I nearly tipped the cafe worker after we ate a light tea and sandwich lunch there, but Naoko wisely interjected. "No tipping in Japan. No tipping here," she whispered to me, and just in time for me to slip my singles back into my purse.

Then, to a Japanese used books store Book Off. Naoko bought a bag full of books heavy enough to feel like a bag full of bricks, at $1 each (but prices vary). She reports that there are books for children and CDs available as well. Book Off is located at 41st between 5th Ave and Madison. There is also a Japanese supermarket near Book Off.

Naoko also found traditional Japanese sweets such as Wagashi and chips at Kitchoan. Take a peek at the confectionaries. Some are very delicate and very cool.

Of course, I took our guest to JAS Mart (supermarket) on 23rd St., and informed her that there are several Yoshinoya locations should she want to grab a quick beef bowl. She already knew this. I am guessing I did the equivalent of telling an American, after arriving in Tokyo, that McDonald's sells hamburgers and would he like any....

We otherwise avoided the Japanese street in the East Village out of fear of exposed electrical wiring on the pavement. Just kidding. Not.


the sun also rises

Alexander is still sleeping. I am sitting over the Impressionism issue of Phaedon, turned to a page of Claude Monet's grainstacks. I am looking at a copy that A has drawn of Grainstack (snow-effect) 1809-1, oil on canvas. I know A wasn't happy with his color choices for his copy of the Monet work. We will have to get some pastels, as Catherine suggested.

Shopping list: pastel paints for "impressionist" painting. Maybe a few charcoal pencils, etc., while I'm at the art supply store for A's other art work (We follow Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards).

Today is the Big Day. A will sit the Introductory Level of the National Latin Exam. Our proctor will be arriving here in NYC, courtesy of Epcot Center's Japan Pavilion, at 11 am. Actually, it's my college friend from Japan, Naoko, who will be visiting for three days. She does work at the Japan Pavilion at Epcot. And she said she was up for the task. Free stay in NYC for her, free proctor for me, cultural experience for all of us. A savvy deal, no?

A has told me that Australian aborigines eat kangaroo. I am not surprised they choose the indigenous marsupial. Makes sense. At least, more sense than, "they eat lamb and take a lovely Shiraz wine with it."


the sun sets on manhattan

...and Alexander has done no schoolwork today. I was busy in a meeting this morning, then I went to a copyright luncheon to listen to a panel discuss R.I.A.A. v. Verizon. There was an attorney who had represented Verizon, another who represented the R.I.A.A., and one who represents P2P United. There were plenty of concepts at the luncheon around which to wrap my head, but I will not share them here. Anyway, during my absence, A was not motivated to work. Maybe I can get him to check this out.

Edit: A just ran in. "Mom!! So-and-so is going to be my study partner!!!I am so motivated to work now!!! I need my Latin book!!! And my Singapore Math book!!! The calculator!!!! OK. Gotta go! Bye!!!"

that'll be a martini with my keyboard, and thanks

I am reading The Courage to Write, by Ralph Keyes. I have no idea what to blog today. Absolutely none. So how do writers get writing?

"...writers do learn ways to avoid striding right up the ladder and onto the high wire.

' I linger over breakfast," said Kingsley Amis of his typical workday, "reading the papers, telling myself hypocritically that I've got to keep up with what's going on, but really staving off that dreadful time when I have to go to the typewriter.'

...Many writers engage in anxiety-postponing exercises much as others do calisthenics. They listen to the radio, straighten their desk, catch up on correspondence....E.B. White wrote so many letters that he often had no time left to write anything else. 'Delay is natural to a writer,' said White.

Before he actually began to write, White sometimes mixed himself a martini. 'Just one,' he said, 'to give me the courage to get started.' Such getting-started tactics are based on a respect for fear, an attempt to head it off, negotiate with the demon before it's transformed into full-scale panic."
Left Penn Station at 3:55 this afternoon for Alexander's South Pacific summer trip meeting in Long Island. Got home a bit over an hour ago.

Exhausted, exhausted, exhausted.


erm, yeah, sure you did...

"I mistakenly assumed notes I had made were my own and I thus incorporated them without attribution," he told the Courant. "As an author of many texts and articles, I should have done a better job of vetting my text."

This article illustrates that even a president of an academic institution can be caught for plagiarizing.

Did you also suffer amnesia when writing your article, Mr. Judd?


(waves and weather courtesy of Mordor)

A informed me that he did not get to go boating today. How am I not surprised, what with those menacing waves sent from who knows where?

While leaving this morning to take A to his marine bio research on the Hudson, he turned to me and said, "Look over there." I looked to the vicinity of the Empire State Building. Dark clouds loomed, and skyscrapers seemed to become misty mountains. "The eye of the enemy is moving," said A.

Right. "You still have to go, you know," I warned him. "I know," A replied, "but don't you think it's cool?"

I told him I did.

As we walked past the Miramax building on Greenwich, we saw that Harvey Weinstein was nowhere to be seen outside his building this morning. No entourage, no Harvey. He may still be celebrating himself in California as the Lord of the Rings money man.

After leaving A at the Project, I walked along the Hudson River Park pedestrian walkway. I found a perfect bench to read my book. Lady liberty, over there, would supervise my reading of it. But wait. No.


HA, HA, HA, HA!!! The water lapped up, loudly, Sauron-like, from below the grating near my feet. I SEE YOU!!!

Was something really watching me? I got up and walked along the river. Ellis Island, see ya. Big clock, adieu. U.S. Coast Guard, ttyl. LACKAWANNA, you Pocahontas princess, buh-bye.

Lap, lap, lap.
Ha, ha, ha!

As I walked closer to home and to the Largest Building Now Standing In Manhattan, the tower seemed to move. The sky got darker. I was feeling uncomfortable. The water kept lapping up, loudly.


plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose*

At least, in my opinion, it is in this instance.

My mother in Florida sent me and Alexander a package which we received yesterday. In it, a sailing ship model of the Victory for A, a Cohiba cigar from Cuba for me.

Today A will be rowing on the Hudson (but close to the pier) to help set up traps for the Project. A relayed to me that the staff/faculty meal on Saturday begins at 10:45.


I beg your pardon? That is a little late. Even by Basque standards.

Afterwards today, is Hebrew school. Last week, the rabbi who normally teaches Hebrew school was at a yoga retreat in India. I am hoping that unlike last week, I will not have to teach/lead the group of kids alone. My job last week was to teach the kids the song "Anatevka" for the summer play. One child (child "O") insisted that she not accept my direction, and the parent of another child was in the room yelling at O for apparently no reason. At least, not one that I could figure out. That parent was all red-faced and guttural threats for a good half-hour.

Erm, excuse me? I am teaching here now. Thank you. Any child has an issue with another child, talk to me, K?

I otherwise brought in a menu from Katz's delicatessen in an attempt to generate interest and focus (we are "going to Katz's" in our play).

"What the **** is this?" one child asked.
"It's a menu, from Katz's," I answered.
"But, what do we need this for?" same child asked.
"Just look at it, kay? It will give you an idea of what we can eat there," I answered.
"Oooooh! So, when can all go on a field trip to eat there?" the child asked.

I should have known better.

A room full of kids, all different ages, half of them interested in participating, half could give a toss. I could never imagine so much chaos could be wrought on a Broadway (?) song.

*Maitresse's translation: The more you change it, the more it is the same.


from today's New York Times

This article about a college and government that cater to ultra-conservative homeschoolers (yes, on my compass, they are "ultra-conservative").

Note: If you are not already an online subscriber of TNYT, you may not be able to read the article in the link above. Becoming a subscriber is free and takes just a couple of minutes.

remember your Roman numerals*...

I - The easiest way to note down a number is to make that many marks - little I's. Thus I means 1, II means 2, III means 3. However, four strokes seemed like too many....
V - So the Romans moved on to the symbol for 5 - V. Placing I in front of the V — or placing any smaller number in front of any larger number — indicates subtraction. So IV means 4. After V comes a series of additions - VI means 6, VII means 7, VIII means 8.
X - means 10. But wait — what about 9? Same deal. IX means to subtract I from X, leaving 9. Numbers in the teens, twenties and thirties follow the same form as the first set, only with X's indicating the number of tens. So XXXI is 31, and XXIV is 24.
L - means 50. Based on what you've learned, I bet you can figure out what 40 is. If you guessed XL, you're right = 10 subtracted from 50. And thus 60, 70, and 80 are LX, LXX and LXXX.
C - stands for centum, the Latin word for 100. A centurion led 100 men. We still use this in words like "century" and "cent." The subtraction rule means 90 is written as XC. Like the X's and L's, the C's are tacked on to the beginning of numbers to indicate how many hundreds there are: CCCLXIX is 369.
D - stands for 500. As you can probably guess by this time, CD means 400. So CDXLVIII is 448. (See why we switched systems?)
M - is 1,000. You see a lot of Ms because Roman numerals are used a lot to indicate dates. For instance, this page was written in the year of Nova Roma's founding, 1998 CE (Common Era; Christians use AD for Anno Domini, "year of our Lord"). That year is written as MCMXCVIII. But wait! Nova Roma counts years from the founding of Rome, ab urbe condita. By that reckoning this is 2751, or MMDCCLI.

* credit to http://www.novaroma.org/via_romana/numbers.html

a tiny breach in my social etiquette...

...and a test for you, should you care to take it.

A Harvard grad and friend told me she took it and got "the most accurate assessment thus far" of any similarly-focused test she's done.

Please refrain from e-mailing to me your results (the purpose in offering it is self-discovery)! Have fun!


Writing Strands entry

Here is Alexander's paragraph for Writing Strands Level 3 Exercise #2.

" My paragraph

I was on the second floor of the gym with my friends, when a man from one of the basketball teams asked if we could look after his dog. The dog was definitely a small Bernese Mountain Dog. It was a pup. From my view, it looked like a stuffed bear. Even though the owner was below in the first floor, the dog was worried and wanted to see its owner. I knew this, because even when someone was petting the dog, it had no clue that someone was petting it; did not pay attention or want attention from any other person but its owner."

la résistance and Jack White*

A does not wish to take the Latin Exam.

He is still studying for it, though.

We will see what happens.

Otherwise, Alexander and I woke up this morning and found out that we both had dreams with Jack White starring in a feature role.

*Note: Jack White persona featured in our dreams was that in Cold Mountain, not the persona in band the White Stripes.


insider trading, cultural epiphany over red chopsticks, inside joke.

Tonight, while Alexander and I went out for some Thai, he asked me about the Martha Stewart trial.

I spent a bit of time explaining "shares" and "the Waksals" and "the FDA" and "cancer drug" and "SEC" and "federal court" and "federal prison" and "prosecutors" and why an entire trial centered around Ms. Stewart's fib during a private meeting with said prosecutors.

I have a bit of "inside" information on the proceedings myself, as I worked as a legal correspondent for a certain court television program last summer. I attended the Sam Waksal sentencing and also dug up every federal court document on Martha Stewart available at the time.

I am not a fan of Martha Stewart. I would never tell A my full opinion on the matter. However, I do have a problem with the Martha Stewart verdict. In the United States, a criminal suspect is afforded the presumption of innocence. Martha Stewart was never afforded a presumption of innocence.

The Cliff Notes is that the private meeting with prosecutors basically went, "Did you sell your shares after obtaining inside information?" and she answered something like, "No." For saying "No" - for allegedly lying - prosecutors decided to take Martha out on perjury charges. Her crime was her attempt to maintain innocence. Her crime was not actual securities fraud (that was a charge that was eventually dropped). So, the result is a trial and a conviction and ultimately a trip to jail.

Weird, weird, weird.

Sam Waksal sold his millions of shares via his family members (SEC rules prevented him, as ImClone CEO, from dumping them himself). Aliza Waksal, who dumped millions, got to walk out of court last summer, scot-free. So did her sister. So did her grandpa, who also dumped millions of shares for Sam. So did her uncle, who sold shares for Sam.

For Martha's $200K sale of ImClone shares, she receives a most lopsided and heavy-handed verdict. And it happens sans a securities fraud charge.

But back at the Thai restaurant. We have a window table with view to the street. Alexander and I notice chopsticks on our table. My Swiss friend recently traveled to Burma and Thailand and informed us of the dining norms in Bangkok. Alexander motions to me as though he is about to throw the chopsticks out the window.
Me: "Erm..." I ask our waiter, "are you from Thailand?"
Him: "Yes."
Me: "Why the chopsticks?"
Him: "I don't know. I asked the owner that, too. Everyone here just lumps all Asians into one pile and I guess they think Thai people use chopsticks."
Me: "So, could we please have spoons with our forks?"

Amazing. One of the most sophisticated cities in the world, and we New Yorkers insist on chopsticks in our Thai restaurants because we think they look better, more Asian than forks. Nevermind the mild cultural insult that could result.

Alexander has otherwise taken a liking to Simon and Garfunkel's Scarborough Faire. We recently did a bit of comparison of the 60's lyrics with the original medieval ones. A's favorite classical composer is Bach. As part of his music studies, Alexander watched the Saul Zaentz film, Amadeus. He totally understood the undertone in the title, too, thanks to his Latin: "It's Amadeus because the filmmaker is saying he was loved by God, and Salieri wasn't."

A's favorite word these days is "subterranean." Everything these days is "sub" or "supra" and "terra" or "mare." But A uses "subterranean" as most of us would use "inferior." "Romans are subterraneans." Or, "Greeks are subterraneans compared to the Egyptians." It is his "inside joke." Which to me, is comical in an endearing way.

"OK, Mom. Let's go blog! Carpe Noctum!!!!!!"


Quaenam tempestas est?


Answer: A) It is raining. Here in NYC.

We are doing this. We did the Introductory Exam. What A could not remember from Latin, he could guess reasonably well from French or from hearing Spanish spoken in the house.

I was mildly surprised, though. Learning a romance language by osmosis really does help.


a word about museum entry fees...

I've posted a bunch of new links to museums in the NYC area. Most New Yorkers already know that the signs posted in museums for entry donations (such as at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Museum of Natural History) many times, are suggested donations.

Not all museums have suggested donations. But for those that do, if you cannot afford the suggested donation, pay what you can and you will still get in. The purpose of the museums' existence is to educate and be there for you. One millionaire friend of mine joked that at most he'd only pay a penny each time he'd go in to a certain museum. To me, that is insane and blatantly disrespectful to the museum, considering that he really had the funds to pay the suggested donation. He could fund an entire museum wing if he wanted to.

But it illustrates that the suggested donation is not enforced. Even for millionaires.

In case you are wondering, Maitresse still pays the sub-student donation at many museums, as decided by me. I am indeed a student and parent. I frequent museums a lot. I am hoping that one day I will afford to throw big lavish balls for museum fundraisers. In the meantime, I do pay more than one penny, but I typically do not pay the suggested donation.

Little Shop of Horrors (kids go free)*

Every Tuesday night kids get to go free with each full-price adult. Call telecharge 212-947-8844 or visit broadwayoffers.com and use code "Kids-04."

Virginia Theatre, 245 West 52nd St.

* Please note: Maitresse does not condone violence committed by extra-terrestrial plants or dentists.

boating slip, hump.

This week I signed a permission slip to let A go boating on the Hudson river to set up fish traps for the Project's research (the fish are kept alive for studies about species in the River). Big step for A to go boating! Another teen homeschooler at the Project actually owns a boating license from the U.S. Coast Guard. He is one of the most responsible students I've seen in a long time.

A is reading Thief Lord. Still also reading the Einstein book. And D'Aulaire's Greek Myths for English language studies.

Latin is coming along great. The Logic books that we use have so lowered our comfort zone with the authors, it has been an exercise "to prove the authors wrong" about their religious beliefs, which is rather comical. I really do need do find another Logic curriculum, though.

Singapore Science is moving along well. A is learning classification rather nicely. Singapore Math could be better. We are slacking off a bit there.

I actually enjoy teaching, but am starting to dislike the thought of the work that goes into teaching when I am not teaching. I don't know why. I do get an extra latte every day now, to supplement my teaching. Not because I am tired, mind, but because I need that extra "oomph" to teach. I am an "animated" instructor. I do like to make things fun. But I am not animated all the time, hence the latte supplement.

I guess it is a hump. I am sitting before the hump right now.


"I like the smell of a just-vacuumed room."

Said A this evening.

We have wood floors.

No carpeting here.

hmmm....somehow, I don't have a problem with this....

You are going to marry viggo mortensen.He is very
friendly and funny and has a lot of respect for
you and your friends. He is also very good with
kids and would be an ideal father. Congrats!!

Which male celebrity are you going to marry? (now 12 (i just added more, and still more to come!)results that have pics!)
brought to you by Quizilla


Things to do for Kids and New York City

Support children's theater in New York City.

Support this lady. Write a letter to New York politicians requesting that federal - not city - funds for public parks be reviewed for her re-opening to the public. Because we want our kids to remember what our city stands for.

Give to Opus 118 Harlem Center for Strings. Featured in the documentary Small Wonders and Miramax film Music of the Heart. The program still needs help.

Find a niche to help others and Start a New York City not-for-profit. No, I am not kidding. My friend started a not-for-profit and then Alexander told me he wanted to start one "to help people who need it." So, there we are.

Go abroad with your kids. Or - yikes - send them alone! New York City kids are at the center of a symbolic world misunderstanding - but also at a launching point for future excellent global knowledge and understanding.

Encourage your kids to give tzedakah. I use this term for a reason. It goes deeper than "charity." Please note: giving on the MTA subways is by MTA rules, a no-no.

So much to do, so much possibility to create...
...and I still don't have a decent gown for an event this Saturday...ugh...Renee Zellweger, could I please borrow yours from the gold statue thingy from last night? Please?

Another cost-cutting way to send your children to college...

If you make less than $40K/year, you can maybe send them here.

I already knew about the crimson reputation for scholarship, but man, this is generous. Good for them.

University homeschool

For a change of pace, we're heading to the university to "homeschool" today.