New Group Alphabet Game

You need a box of letters- scrabble tiles are fine, or use alphabet blocks. Players need to be old enough to know a variety of place names and what letter they start with.

The number of players is irrelevant, although more than 3 is probably more fun.

The oldest person in the group draws a tile and quickly turns it letter up on the table. The first person in the group calls out a place name takes the tile. The place name can be the name of a country, a city, a mountain, lake, river, island- any geographical location.

Play continues until all the tiles are drawn, and the one with the most tiles wins.

To continue- You can either have the person who caught the tile pull one next, or go in a circle, or, like bingo, just have one person be the ‘caller’
If you have younger players who know their letters but aren’t quick enough to have a fighting chance at calling out places, they can take turns drawing the tiles and telling everybody the letters. If they don’t know their letters, they can just be the ones to draw a tile and put it face up on the table.

You could also do titles of books, historical people, people or places in the Bible, plants, or any other subject your group of players knows something about.

To make it a short game, just play with fewer tiles. If you have somebody who wins all the time, you could handicap them by not permitting them to answer more than 3 times in a row (if they forget and blurt out a name they have to give a tile to the person to their left, or the youngest player, or return it to the pile)

You could also do this in a language class, or in a family where you’re studying another language together. Pull a tile and say a word in the new language that starts with that letter or sound. For more language practice, make a list of the words everybody says and at the end of the game try to make a sentence using as many of them as possible.

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Michael Caputo’s fiery testimony to the Senate Committee

I read about this, but I had no idea just how much more powerful Caputo’s statement was then I realized. I read only about the cussing out, and some complaining about the impact this was having on his family, but his cogent attack on this investigation and those involved was far more damning than reported.  Read it, and weep for our Republic:

“In 2009, my wife and I moved to my hometown of East Aurora, New York to have a family. Making far less money back home, we had a far better quality of life. That is, until the Trump-Russia narrative took off. Today, I can’t possibly pay the attendant legal costs and live near my aging father, raising my kids where I grew up.

Your investigation and others into the allegations of Trump campaign collusion with Russia are costing my family a great deal of money – more than $125,000 – and making a visceral impact on my children.

Now I must to move back to Washington, New York City, Miami or elsewhere, just so I can make enough money to pay off these legal bills. And I know I have you to thank for that.

Here’s how I know: how many of you know Daniel Jones, former Senate Intelligence staffer for Senator Dianne Feinstein? Great guy, right? Most of you worked with him. One of you probably just talked to him this morning.

Of course, very few of us in flyover country knew Daniel until recently. Now we know that he quit his job with your Senate committee not long ago to raise $50 million from ten rich Democrats to finance more work on the FusionGPS Russian dossier. The one the FBI used to get a FISA warrant and intimidate President Donald Trump, without anyone admitting — until months after it was deployed — that it was paid for by Hillary Clinton.

In fact, good old Dan has been raising and spending millions to confirm the unconfirmable – and, of course, to keep all his old intel colleagues up-to-speed on what FusionGPS and British and Russian spies have found. Got to keep that Russia story in the news.

Of course Dan’s in touch with you guys. We know from the news that he’s been briefing Senator Mark Warner, vice chairman of this committee. Which one of you works for Senator Warner? Please give Danny my best.

I saw some of his handiwork just last month. Remember this lede paragraph, from McClatchy on April 13?

“The Justice Department special counsel has evidence that Donald Trump’s personal lawyer and confidant, Michael Cohen, secretly made a late-summer trip to Prague during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to two sources familiar with the matter.”

That’s your pal Dan, isn’t it? He came up with some kind of hollow proof that Michael Cohen was in Prague meeting with Russians when he wasn’t. He tried to sell that to reporters, and they didn’t buy it because it doesn’t check out. So, to get a reporter to write up his line of bull, he gave the documents to the Office of Special Counsel.

We know that’s likely, because he’s told people he’s briefing investigators.

So, technically, the special counsel’s office has evidence. Your pal Dan gave them more of the Democrats’ dossier, funded by more Democrats, provided again by Russian and British spies. Information no reporter would write up, but now there’s an angle: the Special Counsel has it. Now it’s a story.

It’s a clever but effective ruse. That’s a story, just like when reporter Michael Isikoff of Yahoo News wrote this gem on September 16, 2016: “…U.S. officials have since received intelligence reports that during that same three-day trip, Page met with Igor Sechin, a longtime Putin associate … a well-placed Western intelligence source tells Yahoo News. That meeting, if confirmed, is viewed as especially problematic by U.S. officials…”

Dozens of stories were written from the Isikoff piece, doing real damage to the Trump campaign. Of course, now we know Isikoff’s reference to “intelligence reports” was just him renaming a dossier funded by Democrats and dug up by his longtime pal Glenn Simpson and some foreign spies. Once Simpson gave his Clinton campaign opposition research to the feds, it was news.

This was especially true after Isikoff intentionally labeled the campaign materials as intelligence – just like McClatchy called Dan’s information “evidence.”

But who is McClatchy’s second source? It couldn’t be Dan; he was the first source. It couldn’t be Simpson; he works for Dan. It can’t be the Mueller investigation; they kicked the McClatchy story to the curb with aplomb. So who could it be – perhaps one of his former Senate Intelligence colleagues? I mean, you’re all in this together. You’re the swamp.

What America needs is an investigation of the investigators. I want to know who is paying for the spies’ work and coordinating this attack on President Donald Trump? I want to know who Dan Jones is talking to across the investigations – from the FBI, to the Southern District of New York, to the OSC, to the Department of Justice, to Congress.

Forget about all the death threats against my family. I want to know who cost us so much money, who crushed our kids, who forced us out of our home, all because you lost an election.

I want to know because God Damn you to Hell.”
Weep, and then brush those tears away and get up and fight for it.

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April Anniversaries

1 All Fool’s Day, Bismarck born 1815

2 Samuel FB Morse died 1872

3 Washington Irving born 1783

4 President Harrison died 1841

6 Battle of Shiloh 1862

8 Seventh Crusade 747

9 Surrender of Lee 1865

10 Fort Pulaski surrendered in 1778

12 Bombardment of Fort Sumter 1861

13 Edict of Nantes 1598

14 Assassination of Lincoln 1865

16 Battle of Culloden 1746

17 Benjamin Franklin died 1790

18 Battle of Cerro Gordo 1847

19 Lord Byron died 1824

23 Warren Hastings acquitted 1795

24 Daniel Defoe died 1731

26 Surrender of General Johnston 1865

27 US Grant born 1822

28 President Monroe born 1758

29 Ralph Waldo Emerson died 1882

30 Louisiana purchased 1803

From the Southwestern Journal of Education, 1892

You see a lot of these kinds of calendars around (‘on this day in…’ ) and they can be fairly interesting, but to really make them rise above trivia into something the student/young scholar thinks about in a meaningful way, you could try one of the following:

Let them look over the list and choose one or two anniversaries they find interesting to put on a timeline or in their own notebook of chronological events.

Cut them up and draw one from a jar and spend a few minutes looking up that event on that day.  This is a fun way of learning to use different resources rather than just Googling.

If there’s a favourite author, an anniversary of particular interest, plan a small celebration or memorial service on the day.

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Sentences for copywork or the commonplace book

He that avoideth not small faults, by little and little falleth into greater.  Thomas a Kempis

Stand by your conscience, your honor, your faith.  Stand like a hero and battle till death. Wilson

He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city. Proverbs

Do noble deeds- not dream them all day long. C. Kingsley

The advantage of living does not consist in length of days, but in the right employment of them. Montaigne

Man is as much made for education as the earth for cultivation. B. Sears

Next to acquiring good friends, the best acquaintance is good books.  C. C. Colton

The true test of civilization is not the census nor the size of the cities- nor the crops, but the kind of men the country turns out. Emerson

Every one is forward to complain of the prejudices that mislead other men and parties, as if he were free and had none of his own. Bacon

Truth is tough. It will not break, like a bubble, at a touch; nay, you may kick it about all day, like a football, and it will be round and full at evening. Holmes

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We replaced Great Books with Great Victims

The overthrow of the Great Books Programme: The Moral Frame of Victimhood

“The professors act this way because they are suffused with ressentiment. Ressentiment is, of course, Nietzsche’s term for a certain state of mind, or rather, a condition of being. He liked the French word because it signified a deeper psychology than the German (and English) equivalent does. Ressentiment is the attitude of slave morality, Nietzsche wrote, the moral formation of one who feels rage and envy but hasn’t the strength or courage to act upon them. A man of ressentiment knows and resents his own weakness and mediocrity, and he hates the sight of greatness, which only reminds the lesser party of his own inferiority. And so he fashions a new moral system whereby victimhood becomes a high badge, suspicion signifies a sensitive eye for justice, and group denunciation of lone dissenters is the surest path to virtue.

I am sure many readers of Minding the Campus have come across these types often in their academic careers. I’ve met them again and again, and a great error of my early academic career was to try to befriend them, or at least to try to lay out some common ground of collegiality. How naïve was that! You don’t ingratiate yourself with people who set their vindictiveness behind an exterior of sympathy for the disadvantaged and hurt ones among us. It obligated me to a degree of grubbing. The dynamic is never straightforward. They speak the words diversity and tolerance and inclusion, but they don’t mean them. In their mouths, those make-nice sounds are weapons of reproach. When you first encounter these colleagues, they seem tentative and probing, but not out of friendly curiosity about who you are. It’s a fraught examination of where you stand, for such creatures are acutely conscious that everyone takes a side, and they want to figure whether you’re with-us-or-against-us. Harold Bloom called them the School of Resentment long ago, and he was absolutely right. It took me awhile—far too long—to figure out that the chips on their shoulders had nothing to do with me, only with something they fancied I represented.”

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