Daily Archives: October 10, 2008

Don Wood’s Into the Volcano Web Page

I fell hard for Don Wood’s remarkable graphic novel, Into the Volcano, back in June. (Here’s that review.)  I was so happy subsequently that others felt the same way.  Now I see that Don has a website featuring a comic detailing his research for the book. It is almost as amazing and dramatic as the book itself!

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Books for Tough Times

A review of popular American children’s books of the past century reveals a recurring theme in the children’s publishing industry: When times are tough, cue the stories about times that were even tougher.

At Slate Erica S. Perl comes up with a very thoughtful set of books.


Filed under Children's Literature

“My friends, you got trouble right here in River City!”

Lately, having someone address his or her audience as “my friends” has been bugging me.  I mean, who are they to call me a friend?  They don’t even know me!  Silly, I know. Language changes and I’ve got to go with it.  (I’m still trying to come to terms with “yummy,” a word I associate with mummy at age three.)  Still, I was interested to read Paul Collins’ Slate piece, “Why McCain can’t stop saying ‘my friends.'”

What happened to change the phrase’s status in our language after Eisenhower’s 1956 speech? I have my own unprovable pet theory: It’s because the following year saw The Music Man debut on Broadway. Ever since, the phrase has been irrevocably associated with old-timey con men in straw boaters: “My friends, you got trouble right here in River City!”

When McCain invokes “my friends,” he’s making an appeal to the old days—the really old days.

I don’t necessarily think everyone who uses the phrase is doing this  (evoking the really old days, that is), but it is an interesting theory, you’ve got to admit.


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