Base Ten Blocks


How do you teach arithmetic? One approach is through the rote memorization of algorithms. For adults, that may be the obvious solution since that is how we solve simple addition and subtraction problems. But why do we carry-over in addition or borrow from in subtraction? To illustrate this concept, I turn to base ten blocks. [...]

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon


I have long been a fan of books by Grace Lin. Her children books feature a Chinese theme and include delightful illustrations. I’ve checked out all her picture books from the library and read them to my children. Now that my children are school age, we have moved on to her novel Where the Mountain [...]

Online Pinyin Zhuyin Converter


I haven’t touched ㄅㄆㄇㄈ since the 70s. While I can recite all the zhuyin phonetics, I can only read them with extreme difficulty. Writing is a lost cause. However, I’m great at pinyin. Our local Chinese school instructs children in traditional Chinese characters and zhuyin phonetics. I was using BoPoMo Help, an iOS app with [...]

What A Monkey Dad Learned From Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother


The Internet has been abuzz ever since the Wall Street Journal published Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior, an excerpt from Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. If you want a more balanced preview, listen to an interview of the author from KQED’s Forum. Also, both Amazon and Apple offer a free sample from [...]

Lunar Eclipse 2010 Photos


Earlier in the day, I had read that we should be able to view a lunar eclipse tonight. So, just over an hour ago, I decided to head outside to take a peek. Full moon. Thankfully, the great repository of knowledge told me to come back in a few minutes. Sure enough, the moon did [...]

Yamaha Piano Special Event at Costco (2010)


The Mountain View Costco hosted another Yamaha piano special event last weekend. I’ve been tracking them for a while: March 2008, April 2008, and August 2009.. Prices appear to be up from 2008, but the same as 2009.On the floor, I saw a Yamaha Grand Piano GB15 PE 5′ 0″ listed for $8,799.00 with a [...]

10 Essential Children’s Books


Goodnight Moon Why are there so many books about going to sleep at night? Because kids do not like going to bed at night. That’s where the timeless classic Goodnight Moon comes in. Goodnight Moon is a quaintly illustrated book about bedtime for a bunny. It offers an introduction to items found around the house, [...]

Yamaha Pianos at Costco: 2009 Pricing

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I spotted the Yamaha roadshow at the Mountain View Costco again last weekend. Looks like prices have gone up since 2008.The Yamaha Mark III Grand DGB1CD PE 4′ 11″ was selling for $13,999.99. The Yamaha T118 PE 48″ was selling for $3,699.99, up from $3,499.99. I would note some inconsistency in the specifications in that [...]



In Ratatouille, Remy’s ratatouille dish whisks the critic Anton Ego back to his childhood. I have yet to meet a dish that could summon my memories of childhood, but some children songs come close. For quite some time, I’ve been trying to figure out the lyrics to 当我们都在一起, which I had learned many, many years [...]

English is an International Language


I found the following news report on Reuters/Yahoo!: Khamenei vows no retreat on Iran election result. The unexpected upheaval in Iran has thrown a spanner into Obama’s plans to engage the Islamic Republic in a substantive dialogue over its nuclear program, which Tehran says is peaceful but which the West suspects is for bomb-making. Although [...]