A school for monkeys

Home schooling and raising monkeys

USOC Attacks Ravelry: a copy of the cease and desist letter for those that are not on Ravelry June 20, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — julimonkey @ 4:49 pm

Here is a copy of the letter sent to Casey Forbes of Ravelry.com The original post can be seen here by members http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/for-the-love-of-ravelry/2189293/1-25 (but if you aren’t a member and you knit or crochet or have a twisted sense of humor, you should join. They are awesome)

Dear Mr. Forbes,

In March 14, 2011, my colleague, Carol Gross, corresponded with your attorney, Craig Selmach [sic], in regard to a pin listed as the “2010 Ravelympic Badge of Glory.”  At that time, she explained that the use of RAVELYMPIC infringed upon the USOC’s intellectual property rights, and you kindly removed the pin from the website.  I was hoping to close our file on this matter, but upon further review of your website, I found more infringing content.

By way of review, the USOC is a non-profit corporation chartered by Congress to coordinate, promote and govern all international amateur athletic activities in the United States.  The USOC therefore is responsible for training, entering and underwriting U.S. Teams in the Olympic Games.  Unlike the National Olympic Committees of many other countries, the USOC does not rely on federal funding to support all of its efforts.  Therefore, in order to fulfill our responsibilities without the need for federal funding, Congress granted the USOC the exclusive right to use and control the commercial use of the word OLYMPIC a and any simulation or combination thereof in the United States, as well as the OLYMPIC SYMBOL.  See the Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, 36 U.S.C. §220501 et seq. (the “Act”).  (A copy of the relevant portion of the Act is enclosed for your convenience.)  The Act prohibits the unauthorized use of the Olympic Symbol or the mark OLYMPIC and derivations thereof for any commercial purpose or for any competition, such as the one organized through your website.  See 36 U.S.C. §220506(c).  The USOC primarily relies on legitimate sponsorship fees and licensing revenues to support U.S. Olympic athletes and finance this country’s participation in the Olympic Games.  Other companies, like Nike and Ralph Lauren, have paid substantial sums for the right to use Olympic-related marks, and through their sponsorships support the U.S. Olympic Team.  Therefore, it is important that we restrict the use of Olympic marks and protect the rights of companies who financially support Team USA.

In addition to the protections of the Act discussed above, the USOC also owns numerous trademark registration that include the mark OLYMPIC. These marks therefore are protected under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. §1051 et seq. Thus, Ravelry.com’s unauthorized use of the mark OLYMPIC or derivations thereof, such as RAVELYMPICS, may constitute trademark infringement, unfair competition and dilution of our famous trademarks.

The USOC would like to settle this matter on an amicable basis. However, we must request the following actions be taken.

1.  Changing the name of the event, the “Ravelympics.”;  The athletes of Team USA have usually spent the better part of their entire lives training for the opportunity to compete at the Olympic Games and represent their country in a sport that means everything to them.  For many, the Olympics represent the pinnacle of their sporting career.  Over more than a century, the Olympic Games have brought athletes around the world together to compete in an event that has come to mean much more than just a competition between the world’s best athletes.  The Olympic Games represent ideals that go beyond sport to encompass culture and education, tolerance and respect, world peace and harmony.

The USOC is responsible for preserving the Olympic Movement and its ideals within the United States.  Part of that responsibility is to ensure that Olympic trademarks, imagery and terminology are protected and given the appropriate respect.  We believe using the name “Ravelympics” for a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games.  In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country’s finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work.

It looks as if this is the third time that the Ravelympics have been organized, each coinciding with an Olympic year (2008, 2010, and 2012).  The name Ravelympics is clearly derived from the terms “Ravelry” (the name of your website) and OLYMPICS, making RAVELYMPICS a simulation of the mark OLYMPIC tending to falsely suggest a connection to the Olympic Movement.  Thus, the use of RAVELYMPICS is prohibited by the Act.  Knowing this, we are sure that you can appreciate the need for you to re-name the event, to something like the Ravelry Games.

1.  Removal of Olympic Symbols in patterns, projects, etc.   As stated before, the USOC receives no funding from the government to support this country’s Olympic athletes.  The USOC relies upon official licensing and sponsorship fees to raise the funds necessary to fulfill its mission. Therefore, the USOC reserves use of Olympic terminology and trademarks to our official sponsors, suppliers and licensees.  The patterns and projects featuring the Olympic Symbol on Ravelry.com’s website are not licensed and therefore unauthorized.  The USOC respectfully asks that all such patterns and projects be removed from your site.

For your convenience, we have listed some of the patterns featuring Olympic trademarks.  However, this list should be viewed as illustrative rather than exhaustive.  The USOC requests that all patterns involving Olympic trademarks be removed from the website.  We further request that  you rename various patterns that may not feature Olympic trademarks in the design but improperly use Olympic in the pattern name.










Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.  We would appreciate a written reply to this letter by no later than June 19, 2012.  If you would like to discuss this matter directly, please feel free to contact me at the number above, or you may reach my colleague, Carol Gross.

Kindest Regards,

Brett Hirsch

Law Clerk

Office of the General Counsel

United States Olympic Committee

1 Olympic Plaza

Colorado Springs, CO 80909


For those of you that are not in the know: Ravelympics is a fiber crafting event that coincides with the Olympics. Fiber enthusiast around the world gather together and participate in crafting events that test their fiber crafting metal and skill. They might be test of endurance or speed, but none of the categories are anything that would be considered easy. These people knit, crochet, spin, and weave while watching the Olympics and cheering their country on. There is great camaraderie, even among “competitors”, and it brings a huge group of people to watch the Olympics. (Personally, I wouldn’t even know it was Olympic time if it wasn’t for the Ravelympics.)


I have very strong feelings about the way the USOC went about writing this letter. It is insulting, “denigrating”, and nearsighted at best. I feel strongly that if they are truly:  “responsible for preserving the Olympic Movement and its ideals within the United States.” Then they would hold up events like the Ravelympics as proof of how the Olympics can bring people together and create relationships that span continents. They are more concerned, however with how much money they can make.

Let me inform the USOC of something very important. There are 2 MILLION people on Ravelry. ONE in THREE Americans knit. (that stat doesn’t include the crocheters, spinners, and weavers) and the internet is a VERY big forum where we are given a voice. My voice says: I WILL NOT WATCH the olympics. Instead I will knit and watch something streaming or something from my own extensive DVD collection, so I will not even see commercials by your sponsors. I WILL NOT BUY anything from your sponsors. I can go 17 days without anything they have to offer. and once I go without it… I may very well decide that my life is better with out it. So much can change in 17 days. If you are a knitter, love a knitter, or think that this big brother attitude of the USOC is wrong, then I encourage you to do the same. Our voices will be heard when their pocketbooks are threatened.




Banned Book Week October 1, 2011

Filed under: randomly random — julimonkey @ 6:11 pm

Well, this week has been REALLY hard at our house. I got sick. Really sick. So, we didn’t get to do anything for banned book week. However, I couldn’t let it pass TOTALLY unobserved.  I feel strongly against banning books.


Books are powerful. It is why they captivate us, motivate us, and terrify those among us that fear the people being captivated and motivated.

The words in a book can uplift your soul, or crush it. They can make you laugh or they can make you cry. They can move you like no movie ever made will be able to move you. The characters in a book can become your closest friends, your worst enemies, a mirror into yourself. In the hands of the open minded, books can change the future.


I am a bibliophile. That means all books, the good, the bad and the ugly. There are no books that I wished I hadn’t read. Each and every book I’ve read has had something redeeming about it. SOMETHING. (okay, there was that one I didn’t finish because the author used the word “till” as in “she sat there till the man left.” and I just couldn’t take it. A till has to do with MONEY not a span of time. Webster’s dictionary is NOT the say all end all of what is an acceptable word. Although, I did learn that there is a way to get me to not finish a book.) My kids are and will continue to be allowed to read whatever books they want to read. If I think one is a bit adult for them, I will tell them. If they still want to read it, they will be allowed, and they will be expected to ask questions about anything they don’t understand. They will get answers. Real answers. Hard answers. Awkward answers. That is my job. To be there to help them understand this world better. -NOT to shelter them from it.


I would rather them learn from the life experiences of fictional people. I would rather them cry tears of pain and sorrow for people they don’t know. I would rather them learn about hatred and abuse from the pages of a book, than from their friends. I would rather them learn about sex in between the covers of the book than in between the covers of the bed. They will experience it all in time… why not let them have the training wheels of a fake universe at the beginning?


So why are so many people insisting on keeping books out of the hands of people that they don’t know? If you want to keep your own children from reading something, that is your choice, and that choice is your right, but you do not get to choose for my children, or for me. That is that. This view point will never change. I will never be thankful for a parent watchdog that saw the word “damn” in a book and took out a black marker. I will never be thankful for petitions going around to remove a book because it has a sex scene in it. I will never be thankful for having someone else tell me what I should or shouldn’t be allowing my children to read. I will always fight it. I will always be loud about it and I will never stand down. You have my word. Actually, you will probably get a few of them.


In Our Defense… August 16, 2011

Yes, I know. ANOTHER blog entry discussing WHY we home school, and defending our choice to do so. I’d normally just say F ’em to all the naysayers, but I don’t think that is going to work in our favor with this :P.

1. Socialization.

I can’t address this to satisfy everyone, because I am sure, my views on public school systems and the type of socialization that goes on there is skewed. I honestly don’t believe that the public school system helps us to learn how to socialize. How many people leave high school with the ability to make friends and keep up friendships outside of school and/or work? I don’t know many. Home schoolers are not thrown in a room with their “peers” and told to socialize. They are not split up by age, sex, financial class, or race. They go to a park or a museum, or an activity, and they find kids that they like, that share interests with them. They make friends through having discussions, being out going, and being KIND.  Yes, it takes work, but as an adult, friendships take work as well. We also go to karate class, where they have many friends (one of which has a HUGE crush on Lyla, and she has a crush on him, too). They have neighborhood children that they play with on a regular basis, and they have each other. They will also be able to make friends online via their school, and in real life via school activities. They are plenty socialized. They are very good at socializing. Connor’s style of socializing is different from Lyla’s. He tends to favor observing and playing with other kids quietly. If he doesn’t like the games they are playing, he doesn’t argue or try to get them to do it his way, he just goes off and does his own thing. He reminds me of Carl!  🙂

2. How can someone who is not a teacher, teach?

Um. Well,  in my opinion anyone can teach. IF they know the material (I am pretty sure I have, at the very least, k- 9th down. I am confident that I can learn anything I don’t have a firm grasp of) IF they can present the material in a way that the student can learn it, and IF they are receptive to feedback, either via questions, grades, or actual feedback. I know there are teachers that can’t do this, but remember they are teaching the masses. Home school parents, are not.

I tutored college students in how to write essays. I got paid to do it. I got offered a college TEACHING job, because someone in the room heard me tutoring and assumed I had my BS in English. I know how to teach.

Even if I didn’t know how to teach, there is NO ONE that knows my children better than me. I can read material and know exactly HOW I need to present it to my children for their individual learning styles. For example: Lyla loves a challenge, and is a kinetic learner. Connor shies away from a challenge, but he can’t resist a puzzle. He learns best through play, and visual aids. I taught Lyla to count to 10 by repetition and rhythm. She got it down in a day. I taught Connor how to count to 10 by giving him a dinosaur mask, and putting numbered dinosaur feet on the floor and letting him “dino stomp” to each number as he said it out loud. He got it down in a day. Two kids, two distinct learning styles. Two different lesson plans. I can do that, because I am their parent and I know them better than a teacher does. I also have the time and resources to do so. Teachers can’t do this. It isn’t their fault, it is the way the system is designed. 25 distinct learning styles, and 25 distinct lesson plans are NOT feasible for one person to do.

Let me get one thing straight. I love most teachers. I had fantastic teachers growing up. I was very lucky in the teachers that I had, and I am grateful to them. The ones I am talking about did the best they could while operating in the oppressing system they were forced to operate in. Yep. My problem with public schools? 95% of it is the system. NOT THE TEACHERS. So, teachers and people who love/work with/know teachers? My beef is not with you. I love my teachers. I miss some of my teachers, and I have NOTHING but the utmost respect for teachers.

As a home schooling parent:

  • I have a curriculum. I can either buy one already made, or I can make one. I chose to make one the first year, and I am using one already made and provided by a charter school this year.
  • I have a lesson plan
  • I have a gradebook
  • I have teaching aids
  • I have a caring and nurturing community that I can look to for help

I am well prepared for my duties as a parent AND a teacher. I am not unsure about that in any way. As their parent I want them to learn EVERYTHING that they need to know in order to be well-functioning people in our society. I take my job of providing them with this information seriously.

3. Home school kids are sheltered

Hahahahaha… hold on… really? hahahahahaha. Okay.

Um, yeah, SOME home school children might be sheltered, but those are the same kids that would’ve been sheltered in public school as well.

In our house we have a policy of:  “ask a question, get an answer”. This pertains to EVERYTHING and ANYTHING they ask. I will answer. I’d rather them get an honest opinion/correct answer from me, then possibly not get an honest/incorrect answer from another source.  Also, since our curriculum doesn’t have to pass through censors, parent groups, advocates, politicians etc. we can have a more rounded discussion of things like literature, sex ed, science, religion… etc etc. Learning is much more powerful when the information is 100% complete and from all sides. Being the person that I am, I embrace knowledge and think that having open discussions that aren’t hindered by what you might get in trouble for saying is VERY important.  I know very many parents that feel this way.

And for the reasons we choose to home school? Well, they are numerous. Flexibility is a big one. Not pushing a kid ahead in all things, when they excell in one and not holding them back in all things because they are struggling with one. Obviously, the ability to have the kids at a grade level that is appropriate to them is important to us.  Also, not having to deal with a BUSINESS and a bureaucracy that cares very little for the individual child and is more concerned with the bottom line and how the scores look. And most of all: These are MY children. There is not one person in this whole entire world that cares for them more than I do. I know what they need, and I will do anything it takes to get it for them. I can’t say that of a collection of strangers that see thousands of kids every year. It is my job to do whatever it takes to take care of them. If that means that it becomes my job to be their teacher?  Bring it on.


WIP Wednesday May 18, 2011

Filed under: connor,Home school,Lyla,random kid stuff — julimonkey @ 11:27 am
Tags: ,

The weather seems to be stuck on chilly, rainy,and nasty. Thus, the kids begged me to knit. So, I declare today WIP Wednesday (WIP = work in progress). We’re going to ignore my WIPs this week, because I have too many (a sock, blanket, quilt, elephant etc.) and mine are much less adorable.

Lyla is currently working on an elephant knit flat. She is using a pretty light purple Kids Rock bulky weight and size 7 needles. Technically this is a nellyphant, but Lyla thinks that is WAY too silly. (in a spirit of full disclosure, I did the binding off, and casting on. The rest is all her)

Connor is working on his first ever knitting project. It is a scarf using Kids Rock bulky in a handsome dark blue on size 15 needles. He did not knit the whole scarf, as you can imagine, he gets bored after about 4 rows. I knit for a bit until he loses interest, or wants to try again. He worked on it quite a bit this morning.

Lyla helped him learn today by teaching him a learning aid she learned in knitting class: “the bird flies out of the barn. (push needle through loop) grabs the worm (wrap the yarn) comes back into the barn (bring needle and yarn back through loop) and EATS the worm! (take needle and new loop off of working needle.)” the needles being different colors helps because I can tell him: “you have a blue barn and red bird now!” or the other way, depending.

And now for the pictures: (posting from iPod still. So I don’t know how to integrate them into the post :/)