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Things I've learned

A few things I've discovered about living with pets:

1) The most macho guy will turn into jelly when you hand him a tiny kitten.

2) Dogs think a litter box is their own private cookie jar.

3) You can't believe everything the vet tells you, especially when he's trying to sell you something.

4) No matter how much you pay for dog beds, they will sleep on yours instead, and no matter how much you spend on cat toys, they would rather have a newspaper to shred and a box.

5) Cats and dogs live together happily as long as the dogs realize that the cats are in charge. And...

6) Don't let a dog afraid of thunder follow you to the bathroom. It's really hard to pee with a dog on your lap.

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Latest reply: Jul 30, 2012


Most people aren't overt bullies. But there is one sort of bullying that I run in to all the time that is considered acceptable by a lot of my friends. At least I assume they consider it acceptable since they do it. It is e-mail/social media bullying.

Like everyone I get lots of e-mail forwards from friends. And I find all sorts of posts on Facebook that I enjoy and often share. What I don't forward or share are the ones that imply that not to do so makes me a bad person in some way. You know the ones I'm talking about. If you don't forward this e-mail then you're not a real friend, don't love your mother, aren't a patriot, probably abuse dogs, don't care about cancer patients, etc. In other words, you're generally scum.

If the message stands on it's own then it isn't necessary to add that crap at the end. Doing so is psychological bullying. And if I have to forward something or repost something to "prove" I'm your friend or agree with your point of view then I guess I'm not and I don't.

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Latest reply: May 24, 2012

getting kids to read

This is going to be rather rambling, so be warned.

Our own Dr. Z put up a link on facebook to "Waterstones 50 Books to Read Before You Die" list. As I read through the list and checked off those I've already read, it occured to me that if we want modern kids to read and love books we need to make our reading lists more relevant.

Many of the titles on Waterstones list were required reading when I was in school. This was pre-computers, computer games, cable and satellite TV, DVDs, etc. We read more because there were fewer alternatives to entertain us on long winter nights. And some of those classics that were required reading in school were pretty darned hard to slog through, even for good readers. I appreciate them now, as an adult, but didn't as a student. I was always happy to finish them so I could go read something I actually enjoyed.

Books become "classics" for good reason. I'm not saying that they should be consigned to the dust heap of history. But as a librarian my main interest is getting kids to read, not to promote a particular list of books. I'd rather have them read vampire novels than nothing at all. Kids like books that are entertaining and have characters and situations they can relate to. If it's not classics quality literature, they don't care.

People who become life long readers and book lovers generally develop the habit at an early age. If all the books that are required reading in school bore them to death, they are going to equate reading in general with boredom. The notion that force feeding kids the classics will foster an appreciation of quality literature just doesn't hold water. What it really does is send them running to their TVs, computers and game consoles, because those things are fun and interesting.

Another problem I see in my area, which is oppressively conservative and fundamentalist, is the tendency for school libraries and reading lists to exclude books that are actually relevant to many kids as "not appropriate". Books about drug addiction, sexual abuse, suicide and death of family members, divorce, etc. These are things that happen to kids. Sometimes a book like Go Ask Alice is a lifeline to a kid. If assigned reading contained books about these real life problems thre would be a hue and cry reaching those of you across the pond. But these are exactly the things we should make available to kids to read.

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Latest reply: May 2, 2012

places to visit

I have been in many places, but I've never been in Cahoots. Apparently, you can't go alone. You have to be in Cahoots with someone.

I've also never been in Cognito. I hear no one recognizes you there.

I have, however, been in Sane.
They don't have an airport;
you have to be driven there. I have made
several trips there, thanks to
my friends, family and work.

I would like to go to Conclusions,
but you have to jump, and I'm not too much
on physical activity any more.

I have also been in Doubt.
That is a sad place to go,
and I try not to visit there too often.

I've been in Flexible,
but only when it was very important
to stand firm.

Sometimes I'm in Capable,
and I go there more often as
I'm getting older.

One of my favourite places to be
is in Suspense! It really gets the adrenalin flowing and pumps up the old heart!
At my age I need all the stimuli I can get!

I may have been in Continent, and
I don't remember what country I was in.
It's an age thing.

Discuss this Journal entry [39]

Latest reply: May 1, 2012

Longevity calculator

This is fun. Only 13 questions. I'm supposed to live to 98.

Discuss this Journal entry [28]

Latest reply: Apr 16, 2012

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