Thursday, January 31, 2008

Frankie Loves Peanuts

Once upon a time there lived an elephant named Frankie. Frankie lived in a zoo; not one of those modern zoos that you may have been to, but an old zoo with tired buildings and cracked sidewalks. You would think that this would make Frankie a very unhappy elephant, but no, he was very happy indeed. The lions were not happy, the penguins were not happy, the parrots and the monkeys were not happy, but Frankie didn’t care. He was happy.
Outside of Frankie’s window, just off to the side of his trench there was a little machine for giving out peanuts. Every day the children would come from all over town, and they would bring their lunch money and their candy money to buy peanuts for their elephant. Frankie was very happy. He would reach through the bars of his cage with his long trunk, and he would carefully pluck each peanut from the little hands that offered them. Then he would take the delicious peanuts, he would put them in his mouth, and chew each one… oh so carefully. Then he would smile, look out at all the smiling faces, and he was so very happy. Frankie loved peanuts.

One day a man in a suit came to the zoo to make sure that everything was safe and that the zoo was taking care of the animals. This man saw all the sad animals, the cracking concrete, the worn down buildings and the peanut machines. He shook his head, “We will have to close down this sad little zoo in a few years. We could sell all the animals except for the elephant. He’s too old to sell. We will have to put him to sleep and give his body to the glue factory.“ Then the man said, “Ed, stop filling up those peanut machines;. it’s too dangerous. The elephant might hurt someone. No more peanuts for Frankie.”

Ed was very sad. He had been taking care of Frankie for a long time. He knew how much Frankie loved peanuts, he knew that the man was serious about closing down the zoo and that would be the end of Frankie. He took away the peanut machines so that Frankie wouldn’t see them anymore, and he hoped that Frankie would forget all about the peanuts. The children stopped coming to see Frankie. Now Frankie was unhappy.
He stood in his cage, looked at the blue sky, and got very depressed.

One day Frankie decided not to get up. He said “This is the end. I’m not getting up ever again.” What a sad little elephant he was. Ed came in to clean Frankie’s cage. “What’s wrong Frankie are you OK?” he said, “I have a treat for you.” Ed reached into his pocket, and he took out a little bag of peanuts. But Frankie didn’t move, he was that down. Ed looked at him, then he dropped the peanuts and ran out the door to get help.

Frankie was lying there not feeling so good about himself, but he kept smelling peanuts. He looked around and there was the bag that Ed had dropped. Frankie thought he would have just one, and maybe another and then, all of a sudden, the bag was empty. Frankie was feeling a little bit better. He looked over and noticed that the door to his elephant house was standing wide open. Frankie thought, “maybe I can get my own peanuts. I’ll just take a quick look around town.”

Frankie tried to be very quite about sneaking out of the zoo. But all of the animals saw him, and they wanted to go too. The lion roared. The parrot called. The penguins splashed and the monkey yelled. Frankie ran out of the zoo fast. The man at the toll both said “Stop Frankie. Go back.” But there was no stopping Frankie. The elephant ran into town. He smelled something really good. Hmmm, what was that smell? He ran around corners, and down streets until he came to a bakery. He didn’t like bread, even if it smelled so good.

Frankie decided he needed a place to hide out so that the police couldn’t find him. He was lucky, and he found a beautiful fountain with many stone elephants. This was a great place for an elephant to hide on a hot summer day. While he was hiding in the fountain a police car stopped in front of the fountain. Frankie thought for sure he was caught; but the two officers were only having lunch at the fountain. “Where did my peanuts go?” said one of the officers, “I had them right here.” Do you know where the peanuts went? Then I don’t need to tell you. Frankie loved peanuts.

Frankie smelled another delicious smell. He followed his nose for a long time and discovered a doughnut shop. He found the doughnuts easy to carry on his trunk, but he still wanted to find some peanuts. Then Frankie smelled another scent. The smell was s so rich and full of flavor. He thought, “This must be where there are peanuts hmm… but there were no peanuts, and that shop was full of people drinking coffee. Frankie was getting discouraged. He had looked everywhere all over town, but he could not find any more peanuts . I might have told him to look in the grocery store, but he never asked me.

It was getting dark and Frankie smelled peanuts! He was so sure that he ran down a street, and over a hill. There, they are in front him was a peanut factory! Frankie ran into the factory. He looked through all the different rooms until he found a room filled with piles of peanuts. Frankie had never seen so many peanuts and his whole life. The pile of peanuts in that room was five times bigger than him! There were dump trucks and bulldozers to move the peanuts around. He ate peanuts till he was full. Then he burrowed into the pile of peanuts and leaving only his eyes sticking out.

The next day when the workers at the factory workers came back. They were surprised at how many peanuts were missing. “Where did all the peanuts go?” they asked. I don’t need to tell you. Frankie loved peanuts. The next night, after the night watchmen had been in to check on the peanuts. Frankie went exploring. He explored all around the factory until he found a little building which said, “Top-Secret” and “Keep Out”.

Elephants are very curious creatures , and Frankie couldn’t help himself . What was in that building? Was it a special type of peanut? A secret recipe?

Frankie peered in the door. He didn’t mean to break-in. He just kind of leaned on the lock a little. Then he stuck his head in the door. Then he had to get down on his knees, and crawl in the room. There were lots of peanuts in this building, each in its own special pile. Some were marked, “peanuts with honey,“ and others were marked, ‘peanuts with mustard.’ Frankie’s favorite type of peanut was with chocolate.

Frankie ate all the peanuts covered with chocolate. Chocolate is not good for elephants. He did not feel so good, and he fell asleep standing up. When Frankie woke up it was morning, and he had been caught. There were cameras taking his pictures, and women with microphones. He was surrounded by people; policeman firemen and doctors, but best of all Ed was there too.

Ed said, “Frankie you are famous. People all around the world have heard about you, the famous disappearing elephant.” Then cameras and reporters came closer to Ed and Frankie. “Why did Frankie come here?” they wanted to know. You know the answer to that question; Frankie loved peanuts.

That night Frankie got to go home to the zoo. The next morning the president of the peanut factory came to see him and Ed. He said that Frankie had made the peanut company famous. That nobody cared if Frankie had eaten all those peanuts because now everybody all around the country wanted to eat Frankie’s chocolate covered peanuts. The president of the company said that before he had been planning to close down the factory. Now he had to hire more workers, and he wanted to thank Frankie in his own way. The company had decided to give Frankie a lifetime supply of… peanuts.

That tired old zoo has been remodeled, and made into a new zoo. All the animals live there happily. In one little house there lives a very happy elephant, and every day, when the children come after-school he throws them peanuts! Frankie loves to share peanuts.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Can you assign Meaning as school work?

I was rereading my last post and thinking about how many people experience school as one long game of trivial pursuit. Before you start to get upset with my view of public or provide schooling let's think for a moment - what is the purpose of school? I mean really? Like I'm not going to tell you.

Yes - to learn and to study - what though? To teach the cultural norms of the day, to round the sharp corners of our minds and smooth the rough places of our souls of that we al have the same approach to life.. This is why really wealthy people understand that school is an institution of politics and culture no an institution of intellect of knowledge. School has less to do with what your studying and more to do with how your studying it and what you learn from that.

Which brings me back to the whole point of my rant today. Can you teach meaning? I think so - I think that's what storytelling is all about. Meaning, self fulfillment, purpose and vision. Big words that don't really seem to fit into classrooms during these days of tests and state mandated curriculum. How do you teach meaning? More on that next week…

Friday, January 25, 2008

Letters to the Editor & Dictionaries

I wrote a letter to editor this last week all about my experience letting my car die and replacing it with a bicycle. I have mentioned before on this blog how much I value the Yellow Springs News for serving as my finale check editor before running my letters. This allows me to be free to participate in the body politics of Yellow springs.

This last letter to the editor I wrote really illustrated the effective of the written word nicely because every where I bike people say to me – O – I read your letter in the Yellow Springs News. It’s sad to say that the era of newspapers is long over and now we replace such fine institutions as the NY Times with well NBC or CBS no – really – Wikipedia. ☺

Or better yet just read my blog. I am in love this one institution of my town this sweet old paper. I don’t really get why they don’t publish the whole thing online and sell google ad words. I’m sure they would make more money that way then any other way. Maybe I am just so pleased that people read what I wrote and it did something – had an impact. I think that might be one of the common lessons that dyslexic children learn early – your writing does not count for nothing - rely on your silver tongue least you forget just look to your dictionary – that book you never opened.

Really – why would a person who reverses the letters in words five times in minute look at a book that is alphabetized? So they can learn to better scramble the words? First time I used a dictionary was when I had to face off against my grandmother in scrabble. She had seventy year so scrabble playing mastery and I could not spell. I used the dictionary to even the score I proud to say I won a game out of the fifty or so attempts.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Down with the Grammar Nazi’s

I have an arrangement with my local paper, the yellow springs news. I write letters to the editor and they kindly edit them, with my permission, so that the typos and other snafus are removed before publication. This allows me to participate in the body politics of my village. Though whether or not the local newspaper is relevant to what is going on in town is a whole different question worthy of discussion. I wish that more people were so kind and generous with there editing abilities.

I am sure that a large percentage of the population does not participate in community politics simply because they feel that they would make fools of them selves any time they sent something into the paper or even posted a comment on an online forum. Maybe it’s a side effect of high school English that many people see the potential risk (embarrassing omission of grammatical ability) far out weighs the potential gain (Getting a letter in the paper).

Perhaps it is the way those of us who are gifted at writing or spelling there way through life behave towards those who are not so gifted. Maybe it’s a few bad apples that spoil it for the rest of us. All I know is that if I didn’t have the kind support of the editorial staff of the paper at my back I wouldn’t be writing those letters to the editor cause I don’t need the five emails I would receive telling me that I need a comma after the second sentence and that I dropped the past tense there and by the way shouldn’t I have someone correct my letters? Like the government is going to give me a grant for that!

Many times if I have not hired or begged a proof writer for some piece of writing; I have had individuals who can edit assume that I have been lazy or that I have been worse yet ignorant of my misspellings. Maybe that is my secret desire of this blog to change the tone of our dialog about spelling and grammar. To a kinder more gentler one where people who can’t spell are given the reasonable expectation that they are trying there best to participate and that there best would look so much better if they had a helping hand from those who can see in the colors of the rainbow.

Of course the grammar Nazi’s won’t be reading this blog, because of all the typos, but what do want out of me anyway?

Friday, January 11, 2008

My Artistic Statement

It's funny how you can spend years on this stuff and it keeps on coming. Yet in just a few minutes you can suddenly turn a corner. Here is my latest clarity of purpose written in 20 minutes yesterday. If you are an artist or business person i highly suggest that you spend the time to narrow your purpose and sharpen your vision and I am not taking about your site.


In a sentence, I support conscious parents in raising imaginative and magical children by reconnecting their children to the natural world.

Artistic Statement
I am committed to the empowerment of children and adults through storytelling. I use storytelling performances to build relationships between people and nature. I use storytelling to teach skills that lead to the practice of peace.

I am a guide for audiences, introducing them to the magical world and the natural world through my stories. My body is the canvas for my imagination and through storytelling I bring a fantastic and thrilling storytelling ride. My style of performance involves the use of characterization, sound and body motion. Each story is fantastic, magical, and present whether through tall tales of my life growing up in NYC, scary stories or modern fairytales from the heart.

I perform in mixed age venues in storytelling festivals, schools and children’s theaters around the United States. I am committed to my performances being accessible to the widest audiences, highest entertainment value, an underlying theme of grace where each story will teach a life lesson.

Monday, January 7, 2008

What causes dyslexia?

Well - my fellow searchers we travel on and I have been reading stuff online again and we all know that everything that appears on the internet must be true...

I read this past controversial issue of whether the cerebellum not properly developed is the key to causing dyslexia. I see a good argument here and I have begun to do more reading on the subject. Here are some older articles on the subject from the world wide web.

This Article is old news from BBC


The Cerebellum as the Cause of Dyslexia

Dyslexia and the Cerebellum: The Missing Evidence

i have read before of how dyslexic individuals will sometimes during periods of high exercise or athletic feats temporarily lose all signs of dyslexia. I tend to doubt that if I work balance fro ten minutes twice a day for a year that after paying 3 grand for the privilege that I will develop new cerebellum - but what if I took the Chinese herbs and at the same time practiced juggling while balancing on high wire?

You laughed - I'm serious - I mean your talking to some one who has taken over the counter drugs for a whole year because he was told that his spelling might improve. Yes I didi the motion sickness treatment. But i do see a pattern here - balance, hearing, sound and spelling - they all seem to be related.


I also found this amazing site on the brain and time witch is really cool but the reading is highly advances I know that some of my readers are not as interested in such thick headed and intelligent commentary - but this blog is worth keeping an eye on.
(Long as you don't keep an eye off me of course!)

Tick Tock Talk: The IQ brain clock