Monthly Archives: May 2013

More on Braille



In a previous post, we discussed how Louise Braille invented reading for the blind by way of raised dots.  Here, we will explore the different methods of writing braille.

When writing braille, there is the original way of pressing dots onto a page with a stylus and sometimes a slate.  The stylus has a round tip that fits into indented dots of the metal or plastic slate, pressing the paper out and creating a dot when the page is turned over.  With this traditional slate and stylus the dots must be pressed ‘backwards’ or mirrored from right to left, so that when the page is flipped over, the braille can be read from left to right.  This popular method of writing braille is inexpensive.

Another way is a new slate and stylus that allows people to braille the same way you read it.  A recent slate and stylus involves a stylus with a hollow tip.  The slate has raised braille cells, and the hollow tip goes over the raised braille dot, pushing the paper down and creating a dot on the page.  This is nifty, because the dots making up the letters do not need to be ‘backward’.

A Perkins brailler has seven buttons, including a space bar in the middle with three levers on either side.  Each lever represents a dot in the braille cell.  To make the letter a, for instance, you would need press only one lever.  For a letter like ‘n’, you would need to press a few before going on to the next letter.  Prices for these start at around $200.

Lastly, there is a braille printer.  Prices for this machine start at about $2,000.



1 Comment

Filed under Articles

The Myth of the Cantaloupians





Have you ever heard the story of Christopher Columbus?

You probably have heard an adaption of it, but you haven’t heard the true story.

When people read papers with Christopher Columbus’ name on it, they thought that it said his last name was Columbus. But his real name was not Columbus.  His real name was Cantaloupius.  Christopher Cantaloupius, to be sure.  Recently, folks have discovered by close examination that the diaries and letters indeed say ‘Christopher Cantaloupius’, but are ashamed and do not want the rest of the world to know the real truth.

The story does not end with the explorer’s name.  It continues!

In reality, Christopher Cantaloupius traveled to what is now called America and the natives their loved cantaloupes.  Every morning, every noon, and every night they ate cantaloupe.  Fried cantaloupe, smoked cantaloupe, cantaloupe salad, and cantaloupe soup.  Cantaloupe smoothies and cantaloupe sandwiches!  Not only this, the antelopes were in abundance!  Antelopes continually dining on cantaloupes!

When Christopher Cantaloupius came upon the natives, the antelopes, and the cantaloupes, he immediately knew the land must be called Cantaloupia.  It was the perfect name to honor himself and the native fruit.

Christopher Cantaloupius was very intrigued by the people and country.  He fell in love with a native lady.  They wished to marry, and Christopher Cantaloupius asked the native lady’s father for permission.  The father refused.  After persistent begging and persistent refusing, Christopher and the native lady decided to run away and marry.  They slipped out in the middle of the night.  Before long, they were captured and tied to trees by the lady’s fellow natives.  They couldn’t escape.  Christopher Cantaloupius hands were tied, and he was violently pushed off the new world in his leaky ship with a diminishing crew who had also tried to marry native ladies, but couldn’t.   

On the return voyage to Europe – for Christopher could not return to Cantaloupia or he would face certain death – Christopher Cantaloupius named the people of the country he had discovered ‘Cantaloupians’ for two reasons.  The first reason was that he had named the land Cantaloupia in honor of himself and the native fruit and to call the people ‘Cantaloupians’ would be very natural.  The second reason was that if anyone having trouble getting married due to lack of permission asked for advice, the answer would be ‘well, you can’t elope.’

Christopher Cantaloupius’ ship sunk four miles from the shore of Europe.  The documents were found in an air tight chest at the bottom of the sea, three hundred years after the shipwreck.

The papers were in good condition, until a sunken ship robber accidently opened the trunk of papers while his hands were still wet with sea water.  He handled all the papers, making them difficult to read before selling them.

This is the true story of Christopher “Columbus” Cantaloupius.


Leave a comment

Filed under Articles

How To… Dialect



Father passed down the primrose path.

  • The a’s in this sentence sound more like ‘ah’.

He did not know he possessed the old and holy stone.

  • Make your mouth into a circle to annunciate the ‘o’ in the words know, possessed, old, holy and stone.  Hold each ‘o’ out to emphasize the sound, and gradually make it shorter until you can get your mouth to say ‘oh’ without spending too much time on one syllable.

Two totally tired toads tried to trot to Tetbury.

  • Over pronounce the t’s, making sure every ‘t’ has the same amount of sound and intensity, including ‘to trot to’.

Is it tea time?

  • The way Americans speak, we tend to cut off sounds to make the words shorter.  For instance, you might say ‘Is i’ tea time’.  The ‘t’ in ‘it’ is important.

Have a go at it.

  • Again with the ‘t’ in ‘at’ and ‘it’.  Also apply the ‘oh’ to ‘go’.

I can’t get the ant off the basket, but Aunty can.

  • This particular exercise is very tricky.  The difference between ‘can’t’ and ‘can’ are very different.  Can is said the same way we say it, like a can of soup.  Can’t is pronounced with a more ‘ah’ sound.  Ant is said the same way we say it, however Aunty has a ‘ah’ sound for the ‘a’ and the ‘u’.


I don’t think I know him, but I’m sure I don’t like him.

  • Cockney is the dialect of native Londoners.  The t’s are not pronounced firmly, neither are the h’s.  In the case of the word ‘think’, I believe it should be pronounced more like ‘fink’.
  • This dialect is hard, and if it helps put the inside of your wrists on your jaw bone in front and slightly below your ears.  Slightly press the skin downwards, therefore mouth movements are made minimal.

Leave a comment

Filed under Articles, How To

A Poem: Winter


By Victoria L. Smith

Winter is my favorite season

for not just one reason

The flakes they fall

slowly they stall

their way to the earth

tighten the girth!

off we go

on a sleigh

o’er the snow

oh what a day

when the sun’s gone

we sit with cocoa ‘til dawn

never a better sight

then that of a crisp winter night

Leave a comment

Filed under Poems

A Poem: The Cross


By Victoria L. Smith

We nailed Jesus on the cross

through his hands

and in his feet

He hung there and died for us

But this the end be not

Christ was placed in a tomb

forever so we thought

Christ rose after three days

The stone removed

and the Christ alive in flesh again

The grave could not hold our Savior

Leave a comment

Filed under Poems

A Poem: A Girl in the Forest


By Victoria L. Smith

A girl walks along the forest edge

The new fallen leaves crunch beneath her feet

A stream runs near her

Bubbling over the rocks and stones

In the waters path

The trees are bent

From pounds of snow

And winds that blow

The soft green forest ground

Is covered with hard brown leaves

The girl’s nose is red

And her feet are bare

She wears old torn clothes

And not a glove or sock

Yet she is happy

She is home among the animals of the wood

Leave a comment

Filed under Poems

The By Kids for Kids Series

The By Kids for Kids Series by Victoria L. Smith

Victoria L. Smith is a gifted children’s author who has published numerous works in a variety of children’s genres.

The By Kids for Kids Series ebooks are available to read on Kindle, Nook, iPhone, iPad, and more.  Number of pages is approximate.

See Kindle reading apps.

See Nook reading apps.

Book 1

Ellanora Brown

Ellanora faces the trials thrown in her path by The Great Depression. How will a girl of 12 make her way? Read this first book in a series of stories written to entertain and to intrigue. Ellanora will capture your fancy and your heart.

(63 pages)

View this book on Amazon.

View this book on

Oregon Girl-- Adventures of Saphrena

Book 2

Oregon Girl: Adventures of Saphrena

In this heartwarming story of difficulty and triumph, Saphrena embraces a new culture with courage and respect. Saphrena will charm you with her spritely personality and loving spirit.

(90 pages)

View this book on Amazon.

View this book on

Book 3

California Girl: Adventures During World War I

Cameron works her way through jams and joys, and never loses her grasp on what is important.

(82 pages)

View this book on Amazon.

View this book on

Book 4

Only 7

Amelia’s mother passes away when she is seven years old. Her father, Mr. Justus turns into a depressed, taciturn man. He remarries quickly, and sends Amelia away continually; however, he keeps his two step-sons and four children at home. Amelia works hard to triumph over the grievous details of death, but will she succeed? Will she be able to help her father, too?

(112 pages)

View this book on Amazon.

View this book on

To view series on, click here.

To view series on, click here.

Coming Soon

Book 5

Charlie Enslow’s father works away from home on the great railroad.  His family receives regular monthly checks from him to support themselves.  When the money suddenly stops, and no word from Mr. Enslow is received, Charlie and his family must make sacrifices.

Leave a comment

Filed under Articles, Historical

A Poem: The Lonely Book



A book lies untouched

On the place where dust lies

Atop a doily of lace

The books sits and cries

For they know not his context

But they do not read

They look on him

As a time taking, worthless task

‘We have no need of him’

They say,

‘We have our electronic books’

They ignore the old and growing older book


‘No, I will have hope’

Dreams the book

There may be one

Who would enjoy and appreciate me


The years pass, however

And the book is not touched

He loses all hope

Of sharing his knowledge

With an unexpectant reader

All hope was not gone,

For there was still a drop left

The hope came in the form of a young boy

The boy gazes at the book in wonder

He has only merely seen pictures

Of these long ago, old fashioned things

For he learns from computers

And reads books of wires and screens

Not of paper


The boy gently lifts the book

From where it has lain for so long

The boy takes the hardcover

Between thumb and fore

And opens the old book

As he reads there opens a door


The reading does not last for long

But the book is happy

He got his dream come true

His dearest wish granted

He had been read by a child.


Leave a comment

Filed under Articles

A Poem: A Girl at Sea


 By Victoria L. Smith

The girl looks on

As the wind blows

For all her kin is gone

She gazes at the waters

That lap never ending upon the side

She has sailed for many a day

And as they passed

All she knew drifted away

What once she looked upon with hope,

She know dreads

The new land lies

There for her,

Alas she has none to share it with

For all her kin was lost

On the journey across

What once she dreamed,

She now does not

For she is alone, so it seemed

But one is there for her

And was with her the length of the journey,

Although she forgot

This One’s name is God

And He awaits her freely in the new world

For that was the dream of her family

To live freely for God,

Not being persecuted for their faith

She can carry on that dream,

Though her family is elsewhere

As she walks ashore,

She sings a praise

For she might have been lost

She might have been taken by death like her kin

But she was not

So she lives for the One

Whom her parents lived for

And who saved her life

For she could have been

one that which was lost

She was spared

As she lives in the new land

With none but God,

He is enough

He will care and provide for her

When she has none but Him

She known her future not

But knows One who does

She knows He has a plan and will guide her

So she walks confidently

With none but God

For He is all she needs

Leave a comment

Filed under Poems

Things to Say in Italian

italianItalian Pronunciation Guide:

            Most of the sounds in Italian are similar to English.  Vowels are more like Spanish.  Each vowel says only one sound.  See below:

A                     ah

E                      ay (said how you would say the letter ‘A’)

I                       eye

O                     oh

U                     oo

Combinations include ‘Ch’, ‘gn’, ‘ia’.  Obviously there are much more combinations that produce their own sound.

Read the below Italian words and their English translation.

Che cosa leggete?

What are you reading?

Quanti anni hai?

How old are you?

Di che cosa ha bisogno il direttore?

What does the director need?

Io parlo Italiano.

I am speaking Italian/I speak Italian.

Ho torto.

I’m wrong.


Filed under Articles