Character Assassination Carousel: Bears on Wheels

It’s assassination time…


Allow me to explain… the lovely and very funny Nicole Leigh Shaw, Tyop Aretist (formerly Ninja Mom, though she will always be a ninja in my heart) hosts a series of hired hitpeople to go out and destroy the kiddie lit that is the thorn in the butts of parents. I get to join that very prestigious group today.

Previously Meredith of From Meredith to Mommy, took a careful look at our nation’s political system using the book Duck for President.

Bears_on_wheelsI will be taking a bit of a different route and destroying the book Bears on Wheels by Stan and Jan Berenstein.  FYI-Bears on Wheels has nothing to do with Meals on Wheels.  That is something completely different.  Also, if you type “bears on wheels” into Google Image Search, you will see things that you cannot ever unsee.  I don’t recommend it.

I wanted to clarify that I’ve only waited this long to participate due to the fact that my Mom IS A LIBRARIAN.  Therefore I can find something valuable in most children’s books. However, after I had to read this book 3,292 1/3 times while I was subbing in a preschool classroom, I can honestly say it is not one of my favorite Berenstein works.  In order to be fair, it does teach counting.  But I’m not so sure any child needs to learn counting like this…

So without totally spoiling it for anyone who actually might WANT to read this book, I’ll give a vague summary:

It starts out rather simple.  One little bear who eerily resembles sister bear finds a unicycle standing up all by itself and rides it.  One bear=one wheel.  Easy enough.

bears-wheels-1Seems innocent enough, but then it all goes downhill from here.  Pun intended.

(Speaking of the Berenstein Bears, is anyone else besides me disturbed by the fact that Brother and Sister Bear have no names while other bears in the books do????  No?  Just me?)

Then this  poor girl is viciously attacked by rogue hitchhiking bears.  Three bears=one wheel.  I know that whenever I see someone riding a unicycle, that is what I do too-run after them and jump on their shoulders!

6885101839_2bc4947fce_zMight I point out that if that were me on the bottom, I would have totally fallen over.  But I don’t ride unicycles.  Be very, very thankful for that.


6885109083_1bf35ccaa2_zWe also have singing and guitar playing bears riding a tricycle with their eyes closed.  Isn’t this just as bad as texting while driving?  No, I do believe that is worse!  Not to mention the one in back is LITTERING! Here is where we have three bears=three wheels.

Still with me?  Get it?  Are you keeping up on the whole bear to wheel ratio thing?  Would you like me to write a formula to go with it? Evil Genius is asleep or I would ask him for one.

Let’s skip ahead a bit because it just keeps getting worse…

6885118847_a88c79785f_zHere we have a very tired looking bear supporting not one, not two, but nine other bears.  Ten bears=one wheel.  I think the laws of physics are seriously being violated here.

This book is certainly encouraging dangerous behavior. Where are all the disclaimers?  Every time I see an advertisement showing anything that seems remotely dangerous it shows some fine print at the bottom of the screen stating not to do it.  This book is screaming out for fine print:  These stunts were performed by professional cartoon bears on a closed course.  Do not attempt, unless of course you are a cartoon bear.

After every law of physics has been violated, chaos happens…

bears-wheels-2I really hope that these bears have good insurance coverage!

This was also the favorite part of the children in the preschool class.  Much like some NASCAR fans, they read the book just for the crashes.  They also loved the ninjas.  Yes there are ninja bears in this book too.

One bike is still going strong though:

gal_et-600x400Oops… wrong book.

I seriously have nothing against this book, but preschoolers seem to think it’s the most wonderful book on the face of this earth and want it read every day ALL DAY LONG.  Prior to taking down this book I read reviews on it online and people were raving about it because it teaches counting.  It can also be used for fractions, and supposedly you can have kids make up their own word problems to go with it (which sounds like SO MUCH FUN!).  I can think of about fifteen other books that are way more fun to read that are much better at teaching counting.  I can’t see how wonderful this book is, then maybe there’s just something wrong with me.  Oh yes, now I remember, there IS something wrong with me…

Oh, what happened to the bears?  Don’t worry, they’re just fine.  Though I wonder how many of them sue each other after that huge accident???

I hope you enjoyed my destruction of this book.  Coming soon to an assassination near you is my very funny friend Lisa Newlin!

The "Lucky Ninja" has completed her assassination.

The “Lucky Ninja” has completed her assassination.

The Periodic Table: It Really Has Nothing To Do With Your Period

Saturday I posted this picture:


She was so stinking proud of herself, except that she didn’t know what exactly it was.  She kept changing her story.  It was flowers, it was an alien, it was a thing.  The one thing she was sure of was that it was for me, because she lodes me.

Then Evil Genius came home, took one look at it and said “Hey, she made a molecule!”  It figures that this would come from my husband, the man who took quantum physics FOR FUN.

This piqued The Professor’s interest.  He piped up “What’s a molecule?”  Thus began a scientific journey.   They talked about atoms, and protons and neutrons and isotopes.  At some point the big giant Chemistry 101 book came out.  They spent a good chunk of the evening discussing chemistry, including poring over the periodic table and discussing what the different letters were for.

So now my son is trying to memorize the periodic table.  Yeah, you saw that right, THE PERIODIC TABLE!  He’s eight, and he is absolutely obsessed with it.  Of course me being me, I made the mistake of having Evil Genius pull up the periodic table song on YouTube.  Now he wants to listen to it over and over, because he wants to learn ALL of the words.  For those of you who have never heard it, it’s all of the elements on the periodic table set to the tune of “Modern Major General” from The Pirates of Penzance.  And yes, I included the link:

Interestingly enough, although I have seen the Pirates of Penzance, I know the “Modern Major General” song with different lyrics.  My sister and I were obsessed with The Pirate Movie,  which is a spoof of the Pirates of Penzance, when we were kids.  I know that the original song doesn’t have the lyrics “Maaaaaan, I’m older than the Beatles, but I’m younger than the Rolling Stones…” in it, but every time I hear that tune THAT’S what I think of…

The geek part of me is thrilled, the not so geeky part of me is having some pretty bad flashbacks.  I almost flunked Chemistry.  I barely understood it, and it didn’t help that we moved in the middle of the year from Florida to Iowa.  Fortunately I had a wonderful, very understanding teacher who spent a lot of time with me and helped me pull a C in the end.  Don’t ask me to tell you anything about it because I really didn’t retain anything from the class.  I do remember that we watched “Connections” with James Burke a lot.  I didn’t actually remember his name, but I just looked up “Connections” on YouTube to look really smart.  Turns out they have every stinking episode.  The only thing I remember about it was that he always wore the same clothes.  Feel free to browse YouTube for it.  Come on, you know you want to.

What I took away from Chemistry is this-“Entropy” is the measure of randomness or disorder of a system.  This is probably the single most useless piece of information I have retained from school.  However, I liked that I remembered that definition so much that the following year I wrote a poem about it in English class.  Yes, I wrote a poem about something from Chemistry. You know, now that I think about it, I could write a song about it.

(To the tune of Yesterday)

it’s not really what it used to be
Randomness for us all to see
Oh I believe in entropy

(Ok, I’ll quit while I’m ahead…)

I took the definition a bit differently than it was actually used.  At the time I thought it described my life, my room, my car.  My life had high amounts of entropy.  Nowadays I’d like to think that it is an accurate way to describe my brain.  So I really don’t understand it, I’d like to pretend for a minute that I know a scientific principle besides the states of matter-solid, liquid, gas, wasn’t there one other???  There is a reason why I took the route that I did in college-no more science classes with lots of formulas!  Which is really too bad, because I am such a sci-fi geek.

Anyway, back to my children.  I hope that people don’t think that we’re like Rick Moranis’s character on Parenthood-that we sit around with flashcards of physics equations and foreign languages trying to cram every bit of information we can into their brains.  Nooooo, they are just naturally weird like we are.  They ask good questions, and we try to be good parents and answer them.  Usually the family scientific discussions revolve around some kind of physics or engineering.  These discussions start with a question about such things and my brilliant reply is “Ask the engineer.”  Believe me there are a lot of these questions, because nobody cares about the things that I know about like music and writing.   Now we’re adding chemistry into the mix.  Before long he’ll be mixing up concoctions and using a bunsen burner in the basement.  When he blows the house up, I’ll blame his dad.  Or I can blame his sister for making that molecule.

I love this picture, that's why I'm using it again!

I love this picture, that’s why I’m using it again!

If you still believe I’m a funny person, please vote for me in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Funny Moms Contest!  You can vote once every 24 hours, and vote for everyone you want to.  I’m hoping to be included on the Top Blogs page by the time this posts, probably waaaaay down at the bottom.  That’s what happens when you run with the big dogs…

Ok, ok, I know you want to see what I’m talking about-here just for you is the clip from The Pirate movie that we loved as kids.  Now you’ll get an idea of where all of this insanity comes from.  New followers, be very, very scared...