Tuesday, June 3, 2014


Hello and goodbye everybody—
Thanks for tuning in all this time. As part of my 70th and final post for I.N.K., I thought you might like to visit a few great folks who made a bow on these pages at one time or another.  And as an extra added bonus, a wondrous going away gift awaits you at the bottom of the page.  It should take you straight to the most high-tech source of nonfiction on Planet Earth, and I promise you'll like it.  So let’s begin with……


Before he was saved by a bald 10 or 12 year old Indian girl named Pocahontas, Captain John Smith had already won a Turkish fortress by stuffing a bunch of explosives into metal pots and catapulting them into the Turks’ camp while they slept. He was also great at making fireworks, but that didn't keep him from being captured and enslaved by Turks or being kidnapped by pirates.

When the California Gold Rush was in full swing, a single piece of paper cost $150 but you could get 12 shirts washed and ironed at the Chinese Laundry for $3. One time a chicken gizzard panned out at $12.80.

Here's what a couple of guys said on board the sailing ships headed for the gold fields:
“The water is becoming bad. I don’t mind it much. I have a way of killing the bugs before drinking them.” Anonymous

The journey by land wasn't much better: “Hail exceeded anything I ever saw, being as large as pigeon eggs. There may be fun in camping, but we haven’t discovered any.” Elisha Douglass Perkins

During the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Meriwether Lewis wrote that: "the musquetoes continue to infest us in such manner that we can scarcely exist; for my own part I am confined to my bier at least 3/4ths of my time. my dog even howls with the torture and we frequently get them in our thr[o]ats as we breath."

Lewis also included a couple of fashion statements showing how the Chinook Indians flattened their infants' heads so much that they measured only 2 inches from front to back and were even thinner at the top. (Head flattening didn't lower the babies' IQ’s one bit....but don't try this at home.) Their moms wanted to look good too. They made their legs fashionably fat by tying cords so tightly around their ankles that the circulation was cut off and their legs swelled right up.

When the American Revolution was heating up, Patrick Henry famously said:
“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God!—I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

Whereupon Samuel Johnson, the greatest English writer of his day, made this response:
How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty from the drivers of Negroes?”

Thomas Jefferson secretly hired a Scottish scandal monger named James Callender to write scurrilous tales about John Adams, so Callender obligingly called Adams a repulsive, hideous, mentally deranged hermaphrodite who wanted to crown himself king.  (Later Callender got so mad at Jefferson that he printed the story of Jefferson’s affair with his slave, Sally Hemings.) 
This time our target audience chimes in….


In one blog, I mentioned showing a bunch of fourth graders some fun ways to do interviews and write the stories they uncovered. The big idea was to tell how their own families came to America, whether they got here last Wednesday or 300 years ago. All of their stories were wonderful, but here are some excerpts from two funny ones:

“During the first year of medical school, my mom had to dissect a human body.  It was a smelly task and after they were done for the day, they would be smelly too.  Something that she thought was pretty funny was the comments that people would say and the funny faces they would make when they would smell the anatomy students.”

“dad was such a dare devil that he went car surfing with his friends. His friend tried to throw him off!, but my dad was good at staying on.  He only fell off a couple of times! ...my dad thinks cliff jumping is the most fun stunt because he loves the rush of falling through the air!”  (the author included lots more stunts his dad’s mom didn’t know about plus a photo of Christopher Reeve as Superman.)


I had a good time.  I liked your book.  Thank you for comeing.  I was not here that day I whish I was.

We really like reading your books they are geater then all of the books I’ve readed  Because it is most funny. But it is not geater then pokemon but I still like it

The ting I liked best about your books are the pictures.  I was wondering how do you paint your pictures without going out of the lines.

Thank you for letting us talk with you!  Even though I cannot pronounce your name.

I love your books.  I wish I had all of them. Truth is I do nat have any.

I wanted to order one of your books but my dad wouldn’t let me.  Por me I really wanted one.

When I grow up I might make books or be a vet I’m not sure about that yet.

If I were an author I would write about a little girl that was an orfin.  I think that idea I gave you was a good idea.  Write me back if yo use my idea. 

Well, I promise to write you back one way or another, so keep in touch.  But for now, that’s all, folks.  Many thanks to Linda Salzman for putting this blog together, and to all the rest of our amazing authors and readers as well. I've enjoyed meeting you enormously.   And now, HERE'S YOUR PRESENT (just skip the ad). www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhcPX1wVp38www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhcPX1wVp38

Adios muchachos-


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