Helen and Teacher

Helen and Teacher
The Story of my Life

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Raggedy Ann turns 100; What Memories do you have of Her?

Raggedy Ann Turns 100; 2015
The beloved doll that has become an American icon has a special birthday this year.  This is the first of several posts devoted to Raggedy Ann.  Please email me with your memories to share of this wonderful doll.  
Raggedy Ann Turns 100; 2015
Raggedy Ann, one of the most beloved dolls of all times, turns 100 this year!
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February 23d Rendezvous by Theriault's
You can view the R. John Wright dolls that will be featured Feb. 23d now!
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Building a General Doll Collection
A general doll collection, based on the ideas of doll author Helen Young, contains dolls of many types and categories.
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Tonner, Alexander and American Girl Updates Feb. 2015
Here are some news bytes from three beloved and popular American doll makers.
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Madame Alexander Doll Types
Social Media and Doll Collectors
Review: My Size Disney Frozen Elsa
Elementary, My Dear Bella
Doll Collector's Calendar

Good Reading; Build on your Memoirs of Play

Playfulness Key To Happy, Lasting Relationships 
In The Latest Issue Of The American Journal Of Play
Now Accessible Free Online At www.journalofplay.org.

Final-AJP-cover-winter2015-RGBAuthors Rene Proyer, professor of psychology at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, and Lisa Wagner, a research and teaching assistant at the University of Zurich, argue that playfulness may serve an evolutionary role in mating preferences by making a person more attractive to potential mates according to research published in the most recent issue of The Strong's American Journal of Play. The authors conducted their research by replicating an earlier study on mating preferences led by Garry Chick, professor and head of the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management at Pennsylvania State University (published in the American Journal of Play in 2012). 

Also in this issue of the Journal:

“Parent-Child Play across Cultures: Advancing Play Research” by Jaipaul L. Roopnarine, professor of child and family studies at Syracuse University, and Kimberly L. Davidson, a doctoral candidate at Syracuse University.

“Competitive Speech and Debate: How Play Influenced American Educational Practice,” by Michael D. Bartanen, professor of communications and theater at Pacifica Lutheran University, and Robert S. Littlefield, professor of communications at North Dakota State University.

“Gender Neutrality in Play of Young Migrant Children: An Emerging Trend or an Outlier” by Smita Mathur, associate professor at James Madison University, and Gowri Parameswaran, professor of education at the State University of New York at New Paltz. 

For information about print subscriptions, visit www.journalofplay.org/subscribe.

The American Journal of Play, an interdisciplinary scholarly journal devoted solely to the study of play, is published by The Strong in Rochester, New York. The Journal is available free online at www.journalofplay.org.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Sunny Discovery

The Solar Eclipse and Maria Mitchell
By Ellen Tsagaris
Popular Astronomy Club

On March 20, 2015, the next solar eclipse will be visible.  NASA’s Solar Eclipse Page provides tables of past and future solar eclipses, along with graphics and other pertinent information. 

A solar eclipse takes place, of course, when the moon passes between the sun and the earth.  Once this occurs, the moon partially or totally hides the sun.  Then, the moon casts a shadow on the earth.

For a solar eclipse to occur there must be a new moon because the eclipse can only take place during the phase of the new moon, which makes it possible for the moon to cast its shadow on the earth.

Such an event has been billions of years in the making, truly awesome when one considers that since its formation almost 4.5 billion years ago, the moon has been steadily pulling away from the earth. According to Space.com, the moon has been moving away from the earth by about 1.6 inches each year.  Furthermore, the writers at Space.com point out that “right now the moon is at the perfect distance to appear in our sky exactly the same size as the sun, and therefore block it out. “

The Bible mentions a solar eclipse in Amos 8: 9, “I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the Earth in the clear day.”  Other references from Ancient China and Nineveh have also been documented. 

Most solar eclipses are very short, with some of the longest recorded at 7 minutes 31 seconds. During this time, the corona, the outer atmosphere of the sun, is visible.

The March eclipse will not be visible in the Quad City area, unfortunately. A total solar eclipse will be visible in Svalbard, Norway and the Faroe Islands, while a partial solar eclipse will be visible in Europe, northern and eastern Asia and northern and western Africa

The last solar eclipse was only a partial eclipse and occurred on October 23, 2014.

Celebrated astronomer Maria Mitchell (1818-1889) made the study of solar eclipses her specialty.  Mitchell was born to Quaker parents who believed in educating equally their sons and daughters.  She learned to love astronomy through helping her father, and one evening, she helped him calculate their home’s position by observing a solar eclipse. Mitchell became famous after she discovered a comet in 1847.  The King of Denmark awarded her a gold medal for her discovery of the comet.  In 1856, Mitchell became a professor of astronomy at Vassar College.

Maria Mitchell was an admired and beloved teacher who inspired her students and believed woman could achieve the same accomplishments that men did, if they could only be given a chance.  She believed creativity and science worked well together, and one quote attributed to her reads: “We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but it is somewhat beauty and poetry.”

Friday, February 13, 2015

Fifty Shades of Grey, or "Different Strokes for Different Folks!"

http://www.amazon.com/Tigress-Ellen-Tsagaris-ebook/dp/B00E3WTULQGiven my other blogs on dolls and doll collecting, including collectdolls.about.com, I have to wonder if there will be an official Fifty Shades of Grey Barbie.  There is already an original artist creation, I'm sure.  After all, in the documentary "Barbie Nation", two middle aged ladies proudly display their S&M Barbie doll house.

Public Domain Image

Actually, I have to confess that I have only read a sample of  FSOG on my Kindle.  I seriously thought it was about the frustrations of an English major [like me], trying to get a job.  Well, I was sort of right.   She gets a job, and allegedly signs a contract for the position of "sex slave?"  Some would say we all are sex slaves, any of us who has married, been involved in a romantic relationship, or other similar relationship.  I have some feminist colleagues who have even called marriage legalized prostitution.

I have felt that I've had jobs in the past where I have professionally prostituted myself, but not like this with a Christian Grey.

Check, also his name, it is very "Young Goodman Brown" and Hawthorne-ish.  Just as Faith's ribbons were "Pink" in Hawthorne's story, and no one was purely good or bad, so "Christian" and his friend are grey; nothing is black and white.

What would Barbara Pym say about her Excellent Women who preferred to wear grey with pearls, as I did in my dissertation defense that dealt with her work?

No one is perfect, no one truly good or bad, chaste or promiscuous, and no pun intended, but Sly Stone was right,  different strokes for different folks.

As an author, I celebrate E.L. James' wild success, even into films.  I celebrate anyone who gets published like this, even if I'm not fond of their books.

Yet, to make a point, ""Fifty Shades" fits right into the genre I wrote about in my dissertation, and later my book, "The Subversion of Romance in the Novels of Barbara Pym."  The plot of the "bodice buster" often involves a sexually submissive woman who "saves" her bad boy of a man, the Byronic hero who is somehow a few brick's shy of a romantic hide-a-way's load. In defense of FSOG, many other writers have been as graphic and dealt with similar plots, and they have a serious follow, are studied in schools, you name it.

Think Henry Miller, Anne Rice, Anais Nin, Sally Beaumann, and more. Masoch and  The Marquise de Sade are studied seriously by literary critics, and romance novelists of every type, many of whom cross into other literary genres, deal with the themes of sexual servitude.  Calling for the author's literary head on a platter, is I fear, not a fair response.

Even the laws regarding obscenity and porn are "grey" and not black and white.  If something has even a modicum of literary, historical, political, scientific, or social value, it is protected speech.

Allegedly, the US Supreme Court with Justice Bill Douglas, had to watch "Deep Throat" twice to determine if it was obscene.  Don't even get me started.  At one point in law school, our prof told us that a Marilyn Chamber's flick passed muster because in a full frontal pose, our star refused to sleep with a Communist officer from the USSR and gave a patriotic speech as part of her refusal.

Disclaimer; anyone who wants to research the truth of that prof's story, you are on your own.  I'm not watching it to prove it. 

The older I get, the less I like to write sexually romantic scenes or read them.  I am not fond of violence, but I love writers like Patricia Cornwell, Anne Rice, Tami Hoag Jeffrey Deaver, James Patterson, and Harlan Coben, and sometimes, violence comes with the territory.  More and more, I love mysteries, especially the "killer hobbies" or cozy mysteries, historical novels, classics, and nonfiction.  I tend to write supernatural young adult, especially about Anne Boleyn and Elizabeth Bathory, and memoir.

FSOG is an adult fairy tale series, and I liken it to the original Grimm's and the tales of The Greek and Roman Myths, where the gods could get down right raunchy.  I may not want to read it, but it isn't a big deal, either. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Creepy A**d Humans; The Dolls Reply!!

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Creepy A**d Humans; The Dolls Reply!!: Follow the Link  Below; a new book of poems about dolls! http://collectdolls.about.com/od/dollsbymaterial/fl/Creepy-A-Humans-The-Dolls-Rep...

What was your favorite doll?  Write a Valentine Memory!