Saturday, February 04, 2023

Frankie's World, The Golden Hour, and Goddess Girls

I read three graphic novels this Shabbat.

Frankie's World by Aoife Dooley is a book that should be in every middle-school classroom and every children’s library. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. 

Frankie is an 11-year-old Irish girl who thinks she might be an alien. Her brain doesn’t work like anyone else’s she knows, and she keeps saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. She wants to meet her father, because she believes he might be able to explain why she is the way she is. The book is a wonderful introduction to autism in girls, written and drawn by a woman with autism. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Golden Hour by Niki Smith is a modern masterpiece that deserves the great reviews it has received. It deals with the tough topics of school shootings (one teacher is shot, but she recovers) and PTSD in young people, but against a gorgeous rural backdrop and through the lens of an adolescent who loves photography. The story is funny and touching, and the art is gorgeous. This might be a good graphic novel for a young person either dealing with anxiety or PTSD or who knows someone dealing with anxiety or PTSD. The book also teaches a little about photography and composition, as well as farm life. It’s a great book.

Goddess Girls: Athena the Brain by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams reimagines Zeus as the principal of a high school and the other characters of Greek mythology as the students. Athena has no idea she’s a goddess until she gets a letter from Zeus, who tells her she is his daughter and Hermes will be picking her up to take her to Olympus Academy. There she makes friends with Aphrodite and Pandora.

This book is okay. The writing and art are both fine. It’s a nice introduction to Greek mythology, but there’s no real conflict and no depth. The main girls are cheerleaders, and most of the girls in the book are a bit too boy obsessed. Personalities really don't go very far beyond “this is the smart one, this is the pretty one, and this is the curious one.” Still, I do think this could appeal to some very young girls, maybe in grades three and four, as an alternative to all the fairy and princess books.

And that’s it. I also started a fourth graphic novel I’m really enjoying, and I look forward to reviewing it next week. 

Happy reading!

Thursday, February 02, 2023

a visit to shuk Machane Yehudah in pictures

Random photos of the day: we went to the Machane Yehudah shuk to buy fruit and flowers and eat at Fish en Chips. 

It was cold and a bit windy, but I was warm in my black parka, black fingerless gloves, and a gray knit "Disney" hat with two pompoms like Mickey Mouse ears.  

I bought a lot of strawberries for 18 shekels (a little over $5) after getting a taste. They're really good. There were a so many stalls selling cheap, delicious strawberries (guess it's the height of the season), and we saw a group of teen girls sitting in a circle on the pavement in middle of the open-air shuk and enjoying them. 

I also bought cheap broccoli, Romanesco broccoli (so pretty!), snow peas, and zucchini. At Fish en Chips, I had a grilled salmon salad, my son had fries, and my ex, Gidon, had fish and chips. We bought a grilled tuna salad to bring home for my daughter and we also bought a whole fish to grill at home. I bought sunflowers for Shabbat, and then we returned home under darkening clouds. It drizzled a little, but we avoided the worst of the rain.

Wednesday, February 01, 2023

What have you been reading?

Every Shabbat, I read. 

I'd like to tell you about two books I read this last Shabbat: Squirrel Girl Universe and Death & Sparkles

Squirrel Girl Universe is basically a cross between the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (my favorite superhero) and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (my favorite book). 

Squirrel Girl and friends try to stop a super villain in the process of sending New York City to the farthest corner of the universe, and only partly succeed. This lands them and the villain far, far from home. Koi Boy gets help from a space whale, and that's where the adventure really starts. Squirrels, funny footnotes, space whales: what's not to love? 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Death & Sparkles is a middle-grade graphic novel designed to appeal to kids who love jokes about farts and butts, and despite myself...I did find it funny. 

As the last unicorn, everyone wants to be Sparkles' friend, eat the candy he makes, and buy the products he promotes. Death comes to collect Sparkles' soul during a death-defying stunt and ends up with Sparkles' horn stuck up his butt. They soon become fast friends, and in the end Sparkles learns the meaning of true friendship. While I'm not the audience for this book, I have to admit I found it fun. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

And those were my Shabbat reads this week.

Wednesday, December 08, 2021

Did the MCU get the repercussions of "the snap" wrong?

I just binged The Falcon and the Winter Soldier after watching Wandavision (and watching Hawkeye as it comes out), and I have to say I'm disappointed by how the Disney+ Marvel shows have been handling "the snap." 

(SPOILER ALERT) If you haven't seen Infinity War or Endgame and don't want spoilers, stop here. Otherwise, if you like to talk about sci-fi "what ifs" like I do, read on.

If "the snap" were real and half of all people (and probably half of all animal life) disappeared and then reappeared five years later what do you think would happen?

Imagine half of all drivers, pilots, doctors, mothers, fathers, children, teachers, employers, employees, customers, consumers, politicians, home owners, business owners, guards, homeless people, billionaires and so on disappearing in an instant but leaving all their stuff and half of all other people behind. 

Imagine situations where there's only one of the person who disappears (single-parent households, for example). Imagine situations where there are two. In a quarter of cases both would disappear, in a quarter of cases none would disappear, and in half of all cases one would disappear. 

Now imagine the initial implications, and how society develops over time until all the people snapped away return five years later. 

Let's start with one example: pilots. When half of all single-pilot planes lose a pilot, that plane crashes killing or injuring all left onboard, as well as possibly people on the ground. Any car traveling at speed will behave like a plane with a single pilot. A pilot and a co-pilot means that 75% of those planes should land--provided they don't collide with a falling or already crashed plane, the pilot doesn't panic, and there are still enough people handling air-traffic control and not panicking themselves. If it's possible to rescue people on the ground, half of all the firefighters, ambulance drivers, EMTs, doctors and nurses will have been snapped away, and because of all the out of control cars and abandoned cars on the roads, it probably wouldn't even be possible for a rescuer to get to the victims or get the victims to the hospital on time. 

How many would permanently die or suffer permanent injuries just from the missing drivers and pilots alone? Hundreds of thousands? Millions? Each of those deaths and injuries will have long-term repercussions. They can't be snapped back. And that's just drivers and pilots.

Now imagine the affect on families with young children. (I'm going to assume that pregnant women and their babies are treated as one person by the snap, because anything else is unthinkable.) 3/4 of all remaining children would have lost one parent, and at least 1/4 would be completely orphaned. What would be the affect of having 1/4 of the world's children orphaned? And if they were passengers in cars or buses when the driver was snapped away, how many would not only be orphaned but injured? And imagine all the parents returning after the snap to discover what had happened to their kids. Some would have grown up and be relatively okay, some would have died, some would have been permanently traumatized, some would have been injured, some, particularly those under ten, wouldn't even remember their own parents, some would return to find their kids with new parents, their spouses with new spouses...

I don't think the Disney+ Marvel shows got the implications of "the snap" right? Do you?

Leave a comment with your thoughts. I want to know what you think.

Thursday, December 02, 2021

Book Depository's international free shipping is a lie

Ads from Book Depository claim "FREE DELIVERY" on all books mailed internationally--but it's not really free. 

Here's one example: Amazon says the retail cost of this book is $14.95, and the Amazon price is $13.46. If you spend $49 worth on qualifying products (including this and most other new books) at Amazon, shipping to Israel is FREE.

Meanwhile, Book Depository offers "FREE" shipping on the same book but sells it for 95 shekels, which is about $30. That's about $16.50 you pay for "FREE" shipping, or $15 above even the retail price. 

How is this sort of false advertising even legal?