Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

mr rogers.jpg

Saw ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’ tonight. It was as good as I was hoping it would be. GQ and I both agreed that we weren’t the biggest Mr. Rogers fan growing up. I remember thinking the King was creepy. I definitely have memories of watching the show, but as a kid, Captain Kangaroo and Sesame Street have more of a lasting impact on me than Mr. Rogers.
That being said, Mr. Rogers’ message of you are fine just the way you are was and is a message worth putting out there. I’ve read a lot of reviews where people said they ugly cried the whole way through the movie. I think people that are going to do that are either people that don’t work with kids or those who have forgotten their inner child.
There were parts that made me smile, parts that tugged at my heart, and parts that surprised me.
One of the biggest takeaways I have from this movie is how radical Mr. Rogers was when he started, and honestly throughout his entire broadcast history. While almost every other show was doing physical comedy and showing characters embarrassing themselves in all kinds of ways, he consistently kept his message the same.
I highly recommend this movie to anyone. Obviously, people familiar with Mr. Rogers will like it best, but I would think kids who have never experienced him or his show would get some good out of it, too.

30-Day Writing Challenge, Day 8 – A book you love and one you don’t

Ugh, this is going to be a difficult one. There are so many books that I love. I mean, this could be put into segments – juvenile, young adult, classic, contemporary (to be honest, there’s not a lot of contemporary writing that I care for).

I’m going to go with one that fits into several categories; fiction, historical fiction, young adult, and even some fantasy. Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief


I’ve not seen this cover before. If you don’t know anything about this book then the cover might seem more creepy than it is. The narrator of the book is Death. The main character of the book is the little girl he’s holding up.

It’s set in WWII Nazi Germany and concerns a girl, Liesel, and her family who hide a Jewish man, the son of a friend of the little girl’s father.

This story is interesting because it’s told from the perspective of a German family that wants nothing to do with the Nazi Party. Liesel’s father suffers because of his refusal to join the party. She has a best friend named Rudy, who is hilarious.

Death is everywhere in this story, and he’s tired. He can’t catch a break, and that is really all he wants, but he can’t because, well, it’s WWII Nazi Germany.

The Book Thief is one of the very best books that I have ever read. I laughed and I cried. I have read it twice. I don’t want to overread it because I’m afraid it will lose some if its specialness for me.

A book that I do not love. This may cause some dissension (among my 6 followers). The book is Love You Forever by Robert Munsch.


love you foreverThere are two reactions when this book is mentioned or shown or brought out, or whatever. Most of the reactions are, “Awwww, I LOVE that book!” There are a few though that are, “Ooooh…that book.” Just now, GQ, saw the picture and said, “Ugh, that’s a terrible book.” [sidenote – there are many reasons we are together, her reaction right there is definitely one of them]

Look, I get it. It’s about a mother’s love. There’s nothing purer than that. I get it. But this book, I just can’t with this book. I think I’m all good with it until the mom drives over to the grown boy’s house in the middle of the night with a ladder on her car, climbs up the ladder and watches her grown son sleeping. That right there puts it into a place where I just can’t.

I’m a father of two beautiful girls. I will, of course, love them forever. I am excited, and nervous, about them growing into beautiful adults. I hope that the relationships that I am building with them will continue to grow as they become adults. That being said, I can’t think of any rational reason that I would do what the mom does there. That’s crazy. Seriously. Seriously crazy. Then, at the end, it’s just sad. The Book Thief is sad too, but it’s a different kind of sad. I don’t know, maybe Love You Forever is just too…close? That’s what I feel, but I don’t know if it comes across right. It’s like that horrible 70’s song, “Sometimes When We Touch”. That song is the worst. THE WORST. It’s too intimate. That’s how I feel about Love You Forever.

So, there you go. One I love and one I don’t. I can’t recommend The Book Thief enough. I’ve possibly offended you with my loathing of Love You Forever, but I think there are two camps where that book is considered, and I’m okay with mine being the smaller camp. How about you? What’s a book you love and one you don’t?

30-Day Writing Challenge, Day 7 – Your favorite symbol and why


What’s my favorite symbol? That’s easy, it’s the heart. Right, I know, it’s not the shape of a heart. It’s the shape of Love. And that is the most important thing to me.

Truth be told, on the source page the 30-Day Writing Challenge came from Day 7 was, “Do you have any tattoos, and if so, what are they?” Well, I didn’t think that was appropriate for my 5th graders, so I changed it to the symbol thing. I can tell you that it has caused some confusion.

Student – “What’s MY favorite symbol?”
Me – “Yes.”
Student – “MY favorite symbol?”
Me – “Yes.”

Different Student – “Can it be more than one?”
Me – The prompt says, “Your favorite symbol, and why”
D. Student – “Yeah, but I have several favorites. So, can it be more than one?”
Me – “Are you going to tell me about them?”
D. Student – “I have more than one.”
Me – “Just do it.”

Again, truth be told, if it was the original post my response would have been, I have two tattoos. One of a moon face and one of a family crest that GQ and I designed and the tattoo artist drew. It’s a 4 symbol shield:


This is the original drawing of the tattoo artist. Here’s the story of the symbols:
The heart symbolizes me. The crown represents GQ. The star represents our 14-year old, Ramona. The skull and crossbones is our 11-year old, Coco.

I feel that needs a little more explaining, but honestly, nothing I can say is going to really fit, so I’m not going to go to try.


They are interchangeable, though. Sometimes I’m the star. Sometimes Coco’s the snuggly, squeezy heart. Sometimes Ramona’s the skull and crossbones (especially now that she’s a teenager. Sheesh) GQ, well, she can be whatever she wants.

Anyway, back to the Symbol, because that’s what this post is supposed to be about.

Love. It’s why I do what I do. It’s why we are here. There are several telephone poles around my neighborhood that are decorated with a cut-out, wooden heart painted red. Similar to the one at the top of the post. In all, there are probably 8 different posts with the hearts on there. Every time I drive past them they make me smile. Clearly, there’s another person out there that feels the same way I do.

In the words of John Lennon, all you need is love. To paraphrase the words of crazy Norman Bates as his mother’s voice, “Is ‘Love’ going to pay the bills?”

What’s your favorite symbol?