Archive for the ‘Books & Things’ Category

Harry Potter
Originally uploaded by aquinas_college2

I haven’t been keeping up to date on my other blog, Fun Spirit.  But while looking it over I saw a few articles I really loved.  This one really made me laugh.  Hope you like it:

Yes, believe it or not HP Fans, there are actually people who do not adore our little black-haired, super-genius, evil-defeating hero known as Harry Potter. These foolish muggles overlook the greatness of The-Boy-Who-Lived, thinking him nothing more than a silly little child.

When you come upon such addle-brained and unenlightened people, simply try some of these well proven strategies to cope with their narrow little minds:

  1. Make sure they are healthy. Find out if they have had a recent check-up. A head injury could account for their confusion on the subject. Check their pulse and peer into their eyes to be sure they are breathing and not in a coma.
  2. Be friends. Assure them that you understand how much better the Jedi in Star Trek was. Always salute them with “Live Long in the Force.” This is sure to please.
  3. Squeal in horror as you recognize a Death Eater in disguise. Shout “Death to Voldemort,” and run away screaming.
  4. Express your sympathy about their being dyslexic. No wonder they haven’t read the books yet poor things!
  5. Gently pat their hand and assure them it’s alright to be afraid of the unknown. Offer to teach them the “Lumos” spell if they’re also afraid of the dark.
  6. Send them frequent HP updates, including new movies, the upcoming theme park, each character’s film career and whatever other interesting tidbits you can find. Tell them “you don’t know what you’re missing – let me show you.”
  7. Remark on how much they look like a Harry Potter character. Argue with yourself over which one they remind you of most. “Hagrid – no, Dumbledore – certainly not, ahh, I have it – Dobby!”
  8. Report them to the Ministry of Magic. These are obviously criminal masterminds whose resistance to the esteemed Mr. Potter is simply a reflex of their dislike for any “meddling goody-two-shoes.”
  9. Assume they are a pessimist who thinks everyone is terrible. Suggest you can teach them skills to become as optimist as you have been inspired by the heroics of Harry and his friends. Offer to give them numerous examples.
  10. Check them into the nearest psychiatric hospital for examination. Nothing but mental impairment sufficiently explains their lack of adoration for our favorite hero. :0)

Check out this fun video on You Tube.

For more ways to annoy Harry Potter Haters.

Be sure to check out my old blog Fun Spirit for more fun-filled articles.


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HP Theme Park

Harry Potter theme park sign by Jonathan D. Bloom

Universal Orlando recently released some information about their upcoming new theme park – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  For Harry Potter fans young and old, this will be a fantasy land like no other, it’s sure to be a hit!  Full of the all the charm and whimsy of the book, this attraction is set to open in Spring 2010.


You will enter through the magnificent gates into the grandeur of Hogsmeade Village.  Once inside you will be shut off from the outside world as you are greeted by the  signature whistle and the sight of the Hogwarts Express.  Many of the favorite shops and pubs from the story are recreated here in all their medieval glory.

There will be eateries featuring food from the books, favorites such as Butterbeer or pumpkin juice at the Three Broomsticks, and sweets like chocolate frogs or Bernie Bott’s Every Flavored Beans at Honeydukes.  Shop at Ollivander’s for your own personal wand, or stop in Dervish and Bangs for Quidditch equipment and Triwizard souvenirs. Try Zonko’s joke shop for a bit of Weasely-inspired zaniness!

Luna with glasses

The Dragon Challenge will be a twin high-speed roller coaster with elements from the story.  The Flight of the Hippogriff is a family coaster simulating a flight over the school grounds.  There is also a recreation of Hogwarts Castle.  Here everyone, whether Gryffindor or Slytherin, will be welcome.  Visit the cozy common rooms, or the great feasting hall.  Every sight and sound will immerse you into the magical world of Harry Potter and his friends.

For a unique vacation you won’t soon forget, try traveling into another world.  For more information, visit the web site at Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and be sure to check out the “First look” video at the site.  I can’t wait!!!

For other great Harry Potter fun, check out the fabulous web site at Muggle Net.com.  Read up on the latest news, view gallery photos, play games and learn about the World of Hogwarts.  See you soon!

P.S.  Stop by my other web site Fun Spirit for a funny look at “How to Deal With Harry Potter Haters.”

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Star and tree by IJsendoorn

What’s in a name anyway?  Does it really matter?  As an avid reader, I understand the wonderful power of words. As any music lover can tell you, you can feel the power of words; put the right melody and lyrics together and they’ll go straight to your soul.

So the question is: Is your name important?  Does it matter?  If your name is Brad and you feel like a Greg does it change anything?  If you’re a Cathy would you rather be Sheila?  Or something entirely more extravagant like Princess Glitter or King Supercool?

If you’ve ever read a comic book you can certainly understand the power of a name. Would the green guy with the big muscles be the same if he was known as Lima Rage or Grass Crusher instead of the powerful Incredible Hulk?  The same goes for our favorite movie characters.  Would Darth Vader be the same imposing figure if his name was Eugene Johnson?  Somehow I don’t think so.

Over the years I’ve heard the suggestion of re-naming yourself in order to reflect your personality.  How empowering, how entertaining, how fun, playful and remarkable! Like the main character in Jerry Spinell’s book, Stargirl is a fascinating, magical creation.  She is a person who does not let herself be limited by what others think.  Her prior names reflect that well, as she transforms herself from ordinary-sounding Susan to Pocket Mouse, Mudpie, Hullygully, and finally to Stargirl.  As her name suggests, she is full of limitless passions, and boundless energy.

Imagine what would happen if we all tried the same thing?  Even if it wasn’t a life-changing event, it would be an amusing experience.  Just the chance to try on new personas.  Who would you be?  Major Paine, Captain Clean, Madame Bliss, Sunny Skies or Brilliant Betty? What could you accomplish with such a name?  What strengths would you gain?  What tasks would you tackle?  How would your choice make a difference in your life?

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Ever want to read a book just for fun?  I really love reading books written for children.  It brings up so many fun things kids love but I’ve long since forgotten.  The stories are adventurous, funny, and highly imaginative.  Here are just a few of my favorites.

  1. Captain Underpants – funny book about two boys who hypnotize their principle into becoming the superhero Captain Underpants.  Absolutely hysterical and not for anyone who can’t appreciate a full range of “potty-humor.”  Check out Dave Pilkey’s site here (he’s the author), and the great Scholastic site here.
  2. Geronimo Stilton.  Written by wonderful Italian author Geronimo Stilton, this is the fascinating tale of one mouse’s quest for a peaceful life.  As a journalist for the fabulous Rodent Gazette, Geronimo lives and works in New Mouse City.  Great artwork and interesting use of fonts and colors make this series a fun read.
  3. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle.  A charming, merry old woman, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle has amazing cures for every kind of childhood misbehavior.  Whether it’s answering back, not picking up their toys, or sibling fighting, this is one lady who knows exactly what magical remedy is needed.  Look here for more.
  4. Dr. Seuss.  One of my all-time favorites.  Who can resist fantastical creatures, brilliant colors and some of the best rhymes you’ll ever hear.  See the web site here.
  5. Franny K. Stein.  Author Jim Benton has invented one of the funniest characters ever.  Little Franny K. Stein is a young mad scientist who is misunderstood by her parents and schoolmates.  Read the uproarious adventures as she works to fit in.
  6. Amelia Bedelia.  I remember reading these as a child myself, but they’re even funnier the second time around.  Poor Amelia is a maid who tries her hardest but just can’t quite get her instructions correct.  Find out more here.

Try out a few today!

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(I think this picture says it all! What a great photo!) Reading a book Uploaded on September 19, 2007 by Merge Merlin Buebynie


I was so impressed by the idea of being insanely interested in something, as suggested by Jarkko Laine; it’s been on my mind ever since I first heard about the idea. I have now figured out my passion – I am insanely interested in reading! Not only do I read anywhere from 1 – 5 books a week, but I also pick up magazines in waiting rooms and checkout lines to read interesting articles.

I’ve been known to sit in the bookstore for at two hours just to browse through a book or magazine I’m interested in. I never have enough money for everything I want to read – there are so many amazing authors out there! So a library card is a necessity for me. And I absolutely love to share my joy with anyone who’ll listen to me for more than five minutes.

I’ve been reading since my Dr. Seuss days, and he’s still one of my favorites. I read fantasy, horror, children’s books, pre-history, biographies, self-help and suspense just to name a few. I love children’s authors Bruce Coville, Darren Shan, Jonathan Stroud, Eoin Colfer and J.K. Rowling among several other favorites. I adore Dean Koontz, James Rollins, Barb & J.C. Hendee, Kelly Armstrong, Kathleen & W. Michael Gear as well as many other adult authors.

I love how self-help books save me the time in thinking up new ways to solve my cluttered closets, birthday party ideas and give me new recipes. I am captivated by vampires, aliens, and otherworldly creatures. Intrigued by success stories in various biographies, and enthralled with humor writers like Barbara Johnson, Loretta LaRoche and Erma Bombeck.

Reading is exciting, funny, absorbing and creative. It is entertaining and enlightening, fascinating and instructive, and never, ever, boring. So if you are the slightest bit interested by the thought of a murder mystery, tips on winning your next poker game or just want to learn more about your favorite celebrity, visit your local bookstore or library today. You just might get hooked on a brand-new hobby. Try it today!

P.S. Thanks Jarkko, for mentioning me on your site, it’s an honor and really made my day! :0)


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I have recently been reading another fabulous book by author Dean Koontz. His writing style has many humorous elements and whimsical characters such as Odd Thomas. While reading I was struck by one of those AHA moments. In this case it was when a character in the book was reformed from a life of evil by reading a simple children’s book. His miraculous “cure” did not take place overnight, but the fact that it started with a children’s book really got me thinking.

Just the idea that a book could change your perspective and outlook on life was enough to make me to encourage all of you to pick up a book again. Of course if you’re reading this blog – that’s just as good as a book. I find that fiction often reveals surprising truths about real life when you least expect it. It makes for fascinating reading – especially when there are so many great writers out there – both adult and children’s authors.

I hope you will all support your local libraries and to help the children in your life get reading. It doesn’t matter so much what they read – just that they do. Instilling a love of reading instills a love of learning, and who among us is not better off with a bit of that?

For some great ideas please visit Jen Robinson’s book page and Naperville’s Public Library children section with listings of favorite characters, book authors and book listings for children.

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When I started out, reading in school as a kid, I read mostly what the teacher recommended or something really popular. As a teen, I read lots of horror novels, mainly Stephen King. (This was largely the result of my mother reading these and having them available, but they were good books – especially the early ones.) I have always loved to disappear into a good book. When I was a kid, I used reading to tune out on others things – like say my brother and sister fighting, or my mom watching the soap operas she recorded. I wouldn’t even hear people talking to me, and many times had to be called to dinner five times before I responded.

This habit followed me into adulthood as well. I could sit anywhere, even if people were talking or a radio was playing, and read without a problem. I would get so engrossed in a great story, that when my husband was talking me to me I wouldn’t even hear him. As his irritation with this grew, I realized I had to stop. Now, I actually put down the book when someone starts talking to me, but it’s still a great way to escape if I need to.

My preferences in reading changed too. In the past I read the same style of books over and over. Now I read lots of things, fantasy, suspense, pre-historic, paranormal, and of course, children’s books. Yes, the first time I went to get a children’s book as an adult I felt very conspicuous (I didn’t even have a child with me). But after the initial unease, and after reading the first few, I realized this was a great genre. For one thing, children’s authors can’t write a slow story. The kids would put it down and pick up a video game instead. So their stories are very action-packed and detail oriented. The other great thing is that fact that they’re written for children. Many of them are scary, exciting and hilarious all in the same book. Because that’s how kids experience life – all at once.

I’m sure many of you don’t like these types of books; maybe you like reading newspapers, or doing puzzles, or just a biography or two. That’s great! Go for it! There’s really something out there for everyone. Even if you only read for help – such as a crafting book or a handyman guide, reading will expand your vision and bring insight into your life.

harry-drawing.jpgHere are just a few of my favorite authors and books:

  • Dean Koontz – Life Expectancy, Velocity, The Taking, Hideaway, Fear Nothing, and many, many more.
  • James Rollins – Excavation, Subterranean, Deep Fathom, Amazonia and Ice Hunt. Great adventure/thrill writer.
  • Kathleen & W. Michael Gear – The First North Americans Series. There are many, many books by this great duo. They offer great adventures into the pre-historic past. Writing that is very detailed with vibrant characters.
  • J.K. Rowling – all of her wonderful Harry Potter series. I vote for this most vigorously simply because her books got so many kids reading again. Enchanting and exciting, a must read for fantasy lovers.
  • Eoin Colfer – The Artemis Fowl series. A fun, imaginative and intriguing adventure with a 12 year old boy genius and fairy folk of the sort you haven’t met in an average tale. Hard-core tale with all the technology any Internet geek could want, this is not your usual book.

Of course there are many, many more. Those will be left for another day. For now, here’s hoping you’ve found a good book to sink into, while I go slip into one of my own.

Abandon the search for Truth, settle for a good fantasy.

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