Sonderling Sunday – Duddler Yarue

July 27th, 2014

It’s time for Sonderling Sunday! That time of the week when I play with language by looking at the German translation of children’s books. And my comments work again this time!

This week, it’s back to my stand-by, the book that inspired me to start Sonderling Sunday, Der Orden der Seltsamen Sonderlinge, by James Kennedy, otherwise known as The Order of Odd-fish.

Sonderlinge 2

Last time, we left off right around the halfway point, on page 208 in the English version, and Seite 262 auf Deutsch.

Just to set the stage, I’m going to write out the whole first paragraph of this section.

Jo and Ian searched the neighborhood, but they didn’t really know what they were looking for. It wasn’t clear what “Duddler Yarue” would look like, and anyway, the streets were almost deserted. After a half hour of wandering, Jo despaired of ever making any headway, and was ready to give up when they saw an effeminate boy smoking a cigarette on the corner. He watched Jo and Ian idly.

Auf Deutsch:

Jo und Ian suchten das ganze Viertel ab, aber sie wussten nicht einmal genau, wonach sie eigentlich suchen sollten. Es war nicht klar, wie dieser »Duddler Yarue« eigentlich ausschaute, und außerdem waren die Straßen beinahe vollkommen menschenleer. Nachdem sie eine halbe Stunde herumgeirrt waren, glaubte Jo nicht mehr daran, dass sie noch irgendetwas erreichen würden. Sie wollte schon aufgeben, als sie einen etwas affektierten Jungen an der Ecke stehen sah, der eine Zigarette rauchte. Er beobachtete Jo und Ian gelangweilt.

“suspicious” = Verdächtiges

“clue” = Spur (“trail”)

“to boil over” = die Beherrschung zu verlieren (“the mastery to lose”)

“rude” = unhöflich

“street wisdom” = Straßenweisheit

“some guy” = irgendein Bursche

“snapped his fingers” = schnippte mit den Fingern (I just like that one.)

“startled and a little pleased” = erschrocken und zugegebenermaßen auch ein bisschen erfreut
(“frightened and admittedly also a little bit pleased”)

“the sights” = Sehenswürdigkeiten

“secret places” = geheime Orte

“I wouldn’t want you to miss it.” = Ich möchte nicht, dass du das versäumst.

“rather enjoying Ian’s jealousy” = genoss Ians Eifersucht

“teetered back and forth” = zögerte unschlüssig (“hesitated indecisively”)

“turnstile” = Drehkreuz

“Ian bought three tokens and went through properly.”
= Der kaufte drei Münzen und warf sie ordnungsgemäß in den Schlitz.
(“He bought three coins and threw them properly in the slot.”)

And that’s it for tonight! A short one, but it’s nice to get back in the swing of it. After all, Ich möchte nicht, dass du das versäumst.

Review of The Adventures of Superhero Girl, by Faith Erin Hicks

July 27th, 2014

superhero_girl_largeThe Adventures of Superhero Girl

by Faith Erin Hicks
colors by Cris Peter
introduction by Kurt Busiek

Dark Horse Books, 2013. 106 pages.
2014 Eisner Award Winner

I didn’t expect to enjoy this graphic novel as thoroughly as I did. It’s made up of strips from a webcomic about a girl who’s a superhero. She can lift heavy objects and leap over tall buildings, but she can’t fly.

In her ordinary life? She’s pretty ordinary. She’s a young adult in a small town that doesn’t have much crime. She’s got a roommate, and she has trouble paying the rent, because she really needs a day job. She has no tragic catalyst in her life that made her a superhero, and she’s always been in the shadow of her superhero brother, Kevin, who is everybody’s favorite and can fly and has corporate sponsorship and looks like a proper superhero.

Superhero girl has some issues. She forgets to take off her mask sometimes when she’s trying to be an ordinary citizen. She goes to a party with her roommate, trying to set her work aside, and gets caught in the thrall of a supervillain who has the power to make everyone think he’s awesome. Then there’s the skeptic, who’s convinced she can’t be a superhero without a tragic back story or a fancier costume. And don’t get started on the time she washes her cape in the Laundromat and it shrinks.

I like what Kurt Busiek says in the Introduction:

Superhero Girl is about life. It’s about being a younger sister, about being a broke roommate, about needing a job, being underappreciated, getting sick, feeling out of place at parties, being annoyed by people carping when you’re doing your best – all wrapped up in the package of being a young superhero in a small-market city where you’re pursuing your dreams but don’t seem to be getting anywhere.

That’s not parody. There may be elements of parody on the surface, but really, that’s rich, human storytelling. It’s telling the truth through humor, and using the trappings of the superhero genre to universalize it, to turn it into something symbolic, so we can all identify with it, maybe more than we could if SG was a paralegal or a barista or a surgical intern. The superhero stuff is the context, the package, and the humanity and emotion and the humor found in it are the content. The story.

This is a story about a young adult starting out in life, pursuing her dream, and struggling to do so. It’s reading that will make you smile.

superherogirladventures.blogspot.com
darkhorse.com

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Teens/superhero_girl.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Comments Are Working Again!

July 26th, 2014

I had wondered why I hadn’t gotten comments in months. (Duh!) My statistics had gone way down, too. It turned out that my comments table and my statistics log table were corrupted. The usual repair process didn’t work at all.

So, now I have Good News/Bad News.

Good News: My blog will take comments again! :)
Bad News: ALL the old comments are gone. :(

I also want to note that Yahoo! Web Hosting was NO help at all. If I had it to do over again, I’d definitely choose a different host. They just said they provide a platform for MySQL and WordPress, but don’t provide any support for those.

But I did decide that being able to comment in the future is more important than saving all the old comments for posterity, even though it makes me sad to lose them.

Review of The Careful Use of Compliments, by Alexander McCall Smith

July 23rd, 2014

careful_use_of_compliments_largeThe Careful Use of Compliments

by Alexander McCall Smith
performed by Davina Porter

Recorded Books, 2007. 8 hours on 7 compact discs.

This is the fourth novel about Isabel Dalhousie by Alexander McCall Smith. I’m finding them much more enjoyable via audiobook. Isabel is a philosopher. She muses and thinks about everything that she comes across. In other words, the plots of these books are extremely slow moving. This is fine when you are in the car anyway, and delightful Scottish accents add to the fun.

You’ll be disappointed if you expect a traditional mystery from these books, but Isabel does slowly encounter a puzzle about a painting she’s thinking of buying. Also in the book she explores questions about motherhood, as she has a newborn son, and about her relationship with Jamie, so much younger than she is, and her relationship with her niece Kat. She’s being cut out of her job with the Review of Applied Ethics, and has to deal with the plotters responsible.

If you want an action-packed thriller, don’t pick up these books. But if you want to explore some musings about life and love with a deep thinker, and encounter some interesting situations at the same time, these books are a delight.

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Fiction/careful_use_of_compliments.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library audiobook from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Review of Sparky! by Jenny Offill & Chris Appelhans

July 22nd, 2014

sparky_largeSparky!

by Jenny Offill
illustrated by Chris Appelhans

Schwartz & Wade Books, New York, 2014. 36 pages.
Starred Review

The girl in this book wants a pet. After much begging, her mother promises that she can have any pet she wants as long as it doesn’t need to be walked or bathed or fed.

She gets a sloth. She names him Sparky.

Sloths are said to be the laziest animals in the world. It is two days before the girl sees Sparky awake.

She tries to play with Sparky. He’s not very good at Hide-and-Seek or Kung Fu Fighter, but he’s very very good at Statue.

When another girl from school is critical of her pet, Sparky’s owner decides to present a Trained Sloth Extravaganza. Unfortunately, the only trick Sparky learns well is playing dead.

Interestingly, this book doesn’t end with a big bang or a punchy lesson. But we close with the girl sitting in the tree next to Sparky.

“You’re it, Sparky,” I said.

And for a long, long time he was.

This book makes me smile.

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Picture_Books/sparky.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Review of Firefly July, selected by Paul B. Janeczko, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

July 21st, 2014

firefly_july_largeFirefly July

A Year of Very Short Poems

selected by Paul B. Janeczko
illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Candlewick Press, 2014. 48 pages.
Starred Review

I’m not proud to say it, but a poetry book has to be something special to wow me. Firefly July is stunning.

The poems chosen have one thing in common: They are all short. They are also fit nicely into the context of a specific season.

A few are well-known, and I’d heard of them in my childhood, such as “The Red Wheelbarrow,” by William Carlos Williams, and “Fog,” by Carl Sandburg. Several more were by poets I’d heard of, such as Emily Dickinson and Langston Hughes. But the majority were entirely new to me. Those, too, were short and sweet and lovely.

Of course, the fact that all the poems are short makes this perfect for young kids looking for their first poem to memorize.

But the stunning part of the book is the way the bright pictures work with the poetry. I love the water lily on the page with this poem:

Water Lily

My petals enfold stamens of gold.
I float, serene, while down below

these roots of mine are deeply stuck
in the coolest most delicious muck.

–Ralph Fletcher

Melissa Sweet’s artwork is hard to describe. There are collage elements and bright colors and unsophisticated line drawings and friendly faces. They work beautifully with the poems in this collection.

candlewick.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Childrens_Nonfiction/firefly_july.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Review of Hope Beyond Hell, by Gerry Beauchemin

July 20th, 2014

hope_beyond_hell_largeHope Beyond Hell

The Righteous Purpose of God’s Judgment

by Gerry Beauchemin

Malista Press, Olmito, Texas, 2007. 245 pages.
Starred Review

Years ago, through reading the books of George MacDonald, and through reading the Bible trying to put aside my preconceived notions, I came to believe that the Bible actually teaches that hell is not forever — that it has a redemptive purpose and will eventually be emptied out and every knee will bow to our loving Father. George MacDonald, however, while implying that this is what the Bible teaches, doesn’t lay out an argument of why he believes the Bible teaches this. Gerry Beauchemin, in this book, lays out an excellent argument.

Gerry Beauchemin calls his view “The Blessed Hope.” I like that very much, and much better than “Universalism,” because I think it’s different than what most people think of when they hear “Universalism.” Yes, I believe in hell. But I believe it represents the lengths to which a loving Father will go to bring his children back to Himself. It is not purposeless, everlasting torment.

Now, many Christians will automatically be arguing, “But that’s what the Bible says?” Is it really? I suggest you read this book and rethink that view. And I agree with the author that The Blessed Hope honors the character of God.

God is good even in His judgments. They are not infinite and horrendously cruel, but just, righteous, and remedial.

Many people don’t realize that the view that hell is eternal is not the one the church fathers held. I certainly didn’t realize that. Although this view is common today, it actually originated with Augustine, and so is called the Augustinian tradition here.

First, the author presents the pillars of his argument. The first pillar is the meaning of the Greek word Aion, which is more consistently translated “age” than “eternal.” Interestingly, Augustine, who supported the “eternal” interpretation (which is not consistent with other usage), was one of the first church leaders who wasn’t a native Greek speaker.

Then he talks about Gehenna, the lake of fire, which is every time spoken of as something finite, like prison. Also the word for “destruction,” apollumi is shown to mean “set aside,” “bring to nothing,” not “annihilate.” The author says, “Popular theology claims God is able to do all things except restore the destroyed for whom Christ died. Really?”

He also looks at God’s will and man’s free will. “God ‘will’ have all men to be saved. Does this mean God purposes with intent to accomplish His will, or that He merely desires it with no power to make it happen?”

He sums up the chapter on “Pillars” with this paragraph:

In this chapter, we have examined the foundational pillars upon which belief in infinite punishment is based and found them wanting. How many Christians including pastors and theologians have critically examined these pillars in light of the evidence presented here? I would venture to say very few. Given this evidence, let us explore with a fresh and open mind, unshackled by a flawed system and study the following chapters in sincerity and truth. Is there hope beyond Gehenna and the lake of fire? Might these judgments also have a positive purpose in God’s unfailing plan for man? The answer lies in the very nature of God Himself. Would a truly all-powerful and all-loving Creator bring into existence billions of people knowing well they would suffer for eternity as a result? Would He really pay such a price to get a few to love Him forever? This is what our tradition has taught. Is it true?

I do believe that Gerry Beauchemin goes on to present a wonderfully logical and complete argument for The Blessed Hope. Honestly, his words fill me with joy and love for my loving Father, who is Good, not vindictive and harsh and cruel. I am so glad that the people around me who don’t see things exactly my way will not be suffering in hell for all eternity — even the ones who make some bad choices in this life! (And don’t get me wrong — I wish they’d spare themselves a lot of suffering on that path to Life! But I really do believe God knows what each one needs.)

I’m not going to present all his arguments. Because I’d like people to consider them in full. I will, however, quote some paragraphs that I underlined in my slow savoring of the book.

This is from a chapter on God’s nature:

The longsuffering of our Lord “is” salvation. What a thought! When does the longsuffering of our heavenly Father for His children ever end? Does it end sooner than yours toward your children? The love of God expressed in His longsuffering will do what His brute power could never do — win the hearts of His enemies (Ps. 66:3-4) and make them His friends (Jer. 31:34; Jn. 15:15; Ro. 5:10).

Another interesting paragraph comes after quoting Christ telling his disciples to pray that God would send out laborers into His harvest (Mt. 9:36-38):

Why are we asked to pray for laborers for the harvest? Why are they needed? Doesn’t the text say it is because people are weary, scattered, distressed, and dispirited? But what has our tradition led us to believe? Answer: To pray because all people are on their way to hell! Isn’t there an inconsistency here?

And here is the introductory paragraph to the chapter called “Purpose-Driven Judgment”:

Is there any positive purpose to God’s Gehenna judgment? What purpose does it serve? According to the prevalent theology, its only purpose is to inflict pain. It refuses to acknowledge it has any remedial effect, and presents it merely as a perpetual prison from which its victims can never escape. I intend to show in this chapter the following facts: First, this view is simply unjust, and Scripture does not support unjust punishment of any kind. Second, Scripture affirms death is no obstacle to God in accomplishing His purposes in any life. Third, God is just and His justice satisfies even our God given human understanding of justice. Fourth, the Bible provides clear examples that all His judgments are driven by a positive purpose.

This paragraph echoed my own experiences when I read the Bible after becoming convinced that George MacDonald (who studied Greek) believed the Bible did not teach that hell lasts forever:

Most of us are not aware of how powerfully our paradigms affect how we understand the Scriptures. They force us to conclude certain passages do not mean what they say. Unless we are keenly aware of this, and make a diligent effort to compare Scripture with Scripture, we cannot see truth staring us in the face. It has been a slow, hard process for me. But once I stepped out of the eternal hell paradigm and began seeing Scripture without that filter, I was freed to receive God’s revelation in a fresh new way.

He looks at proclamations from Scripture, the Apostles, church fathers, logic, the character of God, and consequences. Is Christ really the Savior of the World?

Scripture refers to Christ as the Savior of the World. In fact, “Jesus” means savior (Mt. 1:21). The Father sent Him as such (1Jn. 4:14). Though popular theology gives lip service to this title, it actually denies it. It attests instead that Christ is merely the Savior of “some out” of the world. Or again, He is the “wish to be” Savior of the world. If the mass of humanity is lost forever, call Him what you will, He is not the Savior of the world. It does not matter that few, many, or most of the world is saved. Even if none are saved, He would still be referred to as “Savior of the world.” For the reasoning is simple: to offer salvation, makes a savior. That is strange indeed — “The Savior of the world not saved.” What would you think of a lifeguard who was hailed as the hero of the day at the funeral of a young child for merely having offered her a life preserver and then threw it to the other end of the pool?

Here’s an interesting summary:

The Blessed Hope and the Augustinian Tradition present two opposing views of God. Of these two ancient theologies, only the first does justice to the character of our glorious God as He is revealed in Christ. It is what the prophets, the apostles, and the early Church embraced. The second, on the other hand, is shackled by a theology of terror which I contend is the primary reason the Gospel has not yet taken the world by storm. Is it by coincidence that once it dominated the western church the medieval world plunged into the “dark ages”?

I am by no means presenting all the arguments here. If this interests you at all, I strongly recommend this book. As for me? Reading this book filled me with joyful, blessed hope.

hopebeyondhell.net

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Nonfiction/hope_beyond_hell.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on my own copy, purchased via Amazon.com.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Review of Lulu and the Rabbit Next Door, by Hilary McKay

July 19th, 2014

lulu_and_the_rabbit_next_door_largeLulu and the Rabbit Next Door

by Hilary McKay
illustrated by Priscilla Lamont

Albert Whitman & Company, Chicago, 2014. First published in the United Kingdom in 2012. 91 pages.
Starred Review

This is the third beginning chapter book about animal-loving Lulu, and I like each one better than the last (having already been charmed by the first).

In Lulu and the Rabbit Next Door, Lulu gets new next-door neighbors, and they include a boy her age who has a rabbit. Lulu is excited about the rabbit, but the boy, named Arthur, is not. His grandfather gave him the rabbit, named George, when Arthur had asked for games for his Xbox. Arthur pays no attention to George except to feed him and check his water and clean out his cage.

That was true. Lulu knew it was true because she and Mellie checked. They could see George’s hutch quite clearly from Lulu’s bedroom window. With Lulu’s telescope they could see George sitting inside.

Day after day.

Week after week.

Twice a day, at breakfast time and dinnertime, Arthur visited George with food and water. Once a week on Saturday mornings, he put him on the ground, scooped all the sawdust out of the hutch into a black trash bag, and put in fresh sawdust. It didn’t take long to do this. The whole job was over in just a few minutes.

During those few minutes George became a different rabbit.

A non-sitting rabbit.

He would begin with hops. Then a stretch.

Then he would begin to run. He ran faster and faster in a racing circle all around the little garden. Sometimes as he ran, he leapt, high into the air. He ran until he had to stop, panting so hard his sides went in and out.

Then Arthur would pick him up and put him back inside his hutch.

To sit there for another week.

It was more than Lulu and Mellie could bear.

Lulu gets to keep George for a week while Arthur and his family go on vacation. George makes friends with Lulu’s rabbit Thumper (the one who doesn’t get along with her other four rabbits).

After Arthur takes George back to his lonely hutch, Lulu gets an idea. She starts sending letters to George from Thumper. The first one talks about how much work Thumper had making a bed of hay. There is a P.S.: “I am sending you a bag of hay so you can see for yourself what hard work it was.”

One after another, George gets notes that show Arthur how many interesting things a rabbit can do. It all culminates with a birthday party for Thumper that is almost stymied when Arthur has a hard time thinking of a present.

This beginning chapter book even kept me entertained. My sister had a rabbit when I was a kid, and I certainly had no idea how many things a rabbit can do. And besides that, the interactions between Lulu and her cousin Mellie with Arthur, who doesn’t know what to make of the crazy animal-lovers, are lifelike and fun. I enjoyed Mellie’s idea for teaching Arthur to take better care of George – she suggested they should keep him in a cage for a week. Their eventual solution was ingenious and delightful to watch unfold.

albertwhitman.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Childrens_Fiction/lulu_and_the_rabbit_next_door.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Review of Kilmeny of the Orchard, by L. M. Montgomery

July 18th, 2014

kilmeny_of_the_orchard_largeKilmeny of the Orchard

by L. M. Montgomery

Bantam Books, New York, 1989. First published in 1910. 134 pages.

I turned 50 last month. As a way of celebrating, later in the year during the few weeks when all three of us are 50 years old, two childhood friends and I are hoping to visit Prince Edward Island. In preparation for that trip, and as part of my celebration, I thought I’d reread L. M. Montgomery’s books. Update: The trip’s not going to work out after all this year, but we’re going to try to go before we turn 55. And it’s still a good excuse to reread the books!

Kilmeny of the Orchard is actually the first novel Lucy Maud Montgomery wrote, though she didn’t get it published until after her classic Anne of Green Gables was published and was immediately wildly popular. To be honest, as a writer it encouraged me greatly to learn this. If L. M. Montgomery’s first effort was a masterpiece, well, then, who was I to think I could ever write anything?

Let’s just say that after reading Kilmeny of the Orchard, I was not surprised to learn it was the author’s first effort. A lovely first effort, yes, but not a masterpiece like her first published novel.

Kilmeny of the Orchard, like all but one of L. M. Montgomery’s books, takes place on beautiful Prince Edward Island. It’s a romance, simple and sweet. There is lots of flowery description and the young lovers are good and true and the story will make you happy.

Yes, the plot is highly unlikely. L. M. Montgomery used to find surprising stories in the news and then put them in your fiction — not realizing that fiction needs to be less surprising than truth in order to be believed. Worse, there’s a villainous character who is clearly villainous because he’s from “Italian peasant stock.” And our heroine is essentially the most beautiful woman in the world, and innocent and sweet (even though she’s lived away from people except her aunt and uncle and the villain all her life). The hero is handsome and smart and rich, but working as a schoolteacher to help a friend.

However, you still can see the seeds of L. M. Montgomery’s greatness. She may overdo the description in this book, but she has a gift for it. And you can already see the quirky characters appearing whom she is so good at bringing to life.

All the same, this is the book that reassures me that L. M. Montgomery was human, too. She, too, had to work at her craft.

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Teens/kilmeny_of_the_orchard.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on my own copy, purchased years ago.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Comments Glitch

July 18th, 2014

I just figured out that my blog hasn’t been taking comments for months. I’m so sorry! When I type in a comment myself, it simply disappears. It’s *not* that I haven’t been approving comments — they just don’t work.

I’m going to *try* to fix this. Yahoo Web Hosting was no help at all. It used to work, and I don’t think I changed anything… But I will try some different things to try to get them going again.