Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Bat and the Nightingale

This was our assignment from this past week; to use the same techniques I mentioned earlier to rewrite the Chinese fable: The Bat and the Nightingale. My version titled "An Uncooperative Concert" is shown below.

On the majestic banks of the River Li, which flows through China, there was once a great forest in which resided many creatures. Although any of these creatures might make very interesting subjects, this tale tells of only two of them, of a bat and a nightingale.

The bat was a nocturnal animal, that is he slept the daylight hours away and patrolled the banks by night, in search of mosquitoes. The other was a nightingale. Although she also was nocturnal, it was just about the only thing she had in common with the bat. Singing was her main occupation, and she sang beautifully, so beautifully that the emperor himself came every night with his royal entourage to hear this tiny bird sing. Unfortunately all this attention made the nightingale quite vain and her neighbor the bat, who was a sensible if unattractive creature, began to feel the effects of it.

After her nightly concert for the emperor she always delighted in insulting and nagging the bat. "You lazy bat!" she would say "I sing nightly for the emperor and his court, and all you do is laze around and eat mosquitoes. You are of no real importance, you should learn to make yourself useful." The bat said nothing. Unhindered, the nightingale' s monologue flowed on, the bat however remained silent, because he was unwilling to engage in argument with such an overly loquacious creature. On the quiet dark banks, later that night, he concocted a clever plan, which would show the nightingale the necessity of talents other then that of singing.

As usual, the emperor came with his typical company to hear the nightingale sing. Seemingly the concert would be the same as it always was, but in reality there was a difference. The bat had stayed at home, comfortably waiting to view the upcoming spectacle. In the branches above the audience mosquitoes swarmed. Unabated by the bat, hungry, called together by the presence of a group of humans, or in their minds food, they pounced. Havoc quickly ensued. Singing on, the nightingale did not notice the courtiers backing away and then running for cover. As the first mosquito pounced on him the emperor jumped, because he was a very small and very thin man his jump was quite astoundingly high, squealed and took off as fast as he could. He was a nervous excitable being and his movement consisted in a cross between a series of nervous jumps and frantic running, he reminded one of a very short grasshopper.

The nightingale then realized she no longer had an audience and seeing the bat hanging lazily on the branch of tree guessed the reason. Humbly she said to the bat "I'm sorry, I should have realized your importance in the forest instead of bragging about my talent. Will you forgive me?" Since the nightingale was really sincere and
because the bat was a kind creature, he did forgive her and from then on they acted in cooperation with each other and thus lived happily ever after.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Fox and the Crow

For our co-op writing class we have lately been rewriting stories, which includes note-taking from the original, so called "dress-ups" (good adjectives, strong verbs, who/which clauses etc. etc.) and "sentance openers" (using various techniques to begin sentances). Over the past few weeks we have been working on "The Fox and the Crow". This is my rather overloaded retelling of this old fable.

The Seizing of the Cheese
As many of us know, nearly all foxes are sly and tricky creatures. A fact as plain and simple as this, however, can be easily forgotten by one who has been blinded by flattery. Assuming you will continue reading, you shall soon see the truth of that statement.

In a small clump of forest once stood a great, old, twisted oak. A contented crow rested there one day. The tree which held the crow, also had presented the opportunity of shade, because it was a very hot day, to a wily fox. Craftily he now gazed at the crow, and more specifically her cheese.

"Beautiful raven," he began, thinking that raven sounded more endearing then crow " You are so lovely, gorgeous... ahem fabulous! I am almost overcome with your beauty, yet you sit there and have not even glanced at me." While the crow stared back at him lovingly, completely taken in by his trickery, the fox carefully crafted his next speech. Pleased with his sucsess so far, which was indeed worthy of some pride, he continued quite cleverly. "If, since your beauty splendid as it is has been so underestimated, then your voice which I have heard so highly praised must be incredible indeed." "Raven dear, won't you sing?" Her voice, it should be noted, had never been praised by anyone, because it was not by any amount of imagination worthy of praise, it was all part of the fox's clever scheme. Since all he wanted was the cheese and cared not about the crow, he was willing to go this far at least to achieve his goal.

The crow, who wasn't the brightest of creatures, was most willing to sing; because of the fox's flattery she was too pleased to remember that foxes are crafty and that she had cheese in her mouth. Singing terribly, she dropped the cheese. While the crow stared forlornly at the rapidly disappearing cheese, the fox dropped his flattery. " Your sense must be nearly as small as your singing ability, and your feathers are really very plain, but you provided me with a delicious if belated lunch, and I thank you. I wouldn't believe everything you're told next time if I were you." With that the fox strolled away with an infuriating swagger, consuming the last bit of the cleverly seized cheese.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Lab Report-- DNA Extraction

plastic bowl,
measuring utensils,
coffee filter,
small glass,
meat tenderizer (must be fresh),
clear dishsoap,
medium sized onion
rubbing alchohol

Object: To extract DNA from onions.


1. Coarsely chop the onion including the skin.
2. Mix 1/2 teaspoon salt into 1/4 cup water, and put both onions and salt water in the blender. Blend for 15-25 seconds.
3. Pour the concoction into the bowl and add 1/4 cup of clear dishwashing soap. Mix everything together for at least 5 minutes. Try not to make a lot of bubbles.
4. Drain about 1/4 inch of the mixture through the coffee filter and the strainer into a small glass.
5. Then mix in (to the small glass) 1/4 tsp. meat tenderizer and about as much alchohol as you have liquid.
6. You should see white strands floating in the water, these are the DNA. You can use a flashlight to aid you in seeing these. If the strands are long enough you may be able to twist them onto a toothpick.

The experiment worked quite well for me, I saw the DNA clearly and was able to catch one on a toothpick.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


By Joyce Kilmer
I think that I shall never see
A poem as lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts it leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Random Anne Facts

Over the past week or so I have spent all my available time (almost) with the Anne of Green Gables series. Previously I had not got past the first book!! Now I am on the fifth and am loving it (how could it be otherwise?)!!!! Perhaps one of these days, maybe when I'm done with the seventh, I'll write a real post on them but now I just wanted to mention a few random things in and about the books that tickled my fancy.

First, on the covers of Anne of the Island and Anne's House of Dreams, she is wearing a pink dress!!!!!! Unfortunatly I couldn't find the exact location, but I know there is a place in the first book where Anne laments that although pink is a lovely color she can never wear it due to her red hair! Hmmm, I wonder if the illustrator actually read the books.

Secondly, Mark Twain apparently was a fan of this series. He described it as "the sweetest creation of child life yet written."

Finally, from the actual book. The background doesn't matter much, Sally is a friend of Anne preparing for her wedding and her meddlesome Aunt is having a conversation with the two of them. My mom, brother and I had a good laugh over this:

"The quality of mercy is not strained." giggled Sally, wriggling into her dinner dress.
"Don't quote the Bible flippantly" rebuked Aunt Mouser "You must excuse her Miss Shirley, she just ain't used to being married yet."

Friday, February 09, 2007

Narnian Quiz

You are 90% a Loyal Narnian!

Congratulations Loyal Narnian! You are an exceptional student of Narnian history. Dr. Cornelius would be proud of you!

Are You a Loyal Narnian?
See All Our Quizzes

I think this is greatly thanks to the dramatized Narnia audio books that are heard quite frequently at bed-time here, thanks to my younger sisters.

hat-tip: Studeo

Friday, February 02, 2007

Latin Convention results!

Well, here is the complete list of our team's results from our Latin weekend (in case it seemed like we spent all our time jumping around screaming):

1st Place Team Spirit for Small Schools
1st. Place Team Spirit for Friday morning
1st Place Team War machine contest (with help from Coyote's dad.)
1st Place N.G. (The only guy on our team) Costume Contest
1st. Place GilbertGirl Mythology test (Hurray, GilbertGirl!!!!!!! Although I can't say it's too much of a shock knowing her:)
2nd Place Coyote Costume Contest (it included two additional "heads" since Hecate, the required costume for girls, is often pictures as looking three ways and a very cool looking sign post, used as a staff, since Hecate is the godess of the crossroads.)
2nd Place Team Spirit for Friday afternoon
3rd Place GilbertGirl Poster (That which was pictured in my post on the Roman party.)
3rd Place N.G. Greek History
3rd Place N.G. Latin Lit
3rd Place N.G. Latin Vocab
4th Place Me Latin Derivatives
4th Place N.G. Latin Derivatives
5th Place GilbertGirl Pentathelon
5th Place N.G. Greek Derivatives
Hon Ment. Girls Door Contest

Well it was a ton of fun, I think we did pretty well and I definitely plan to go next year.