Sunday, June 26, 2011

"Fast Five" Wasn't

June 26, 2011

Saw “Fast Five” at the theater yesterday—or part of it, anyway. The last twenty minutes or so (starting with the ambush scene) were terrific, really. The first twenty minutes were good but not compelling; and I have no idea what the intervening 70 minutes were like, because I napped.

It may have needed some work.

Help! The Computer Stole my Common Sense!

June 25, 2011

According to an article in the Idaho Statesman, some rural schools formed a Distance Learning consortium to help them meet state requirements that students must take online courses before graduating from high school.

Imagine their surprise when they were informed that their plan won’t satisfy the mandate for students at the school where the online teacher works. Even if they stick the kids in a different room from the teacher.

Can we start this thing over?

(Because my goal is to keep these posts short and relevant, I won’t go into my tirade—and it’s a doozy—about how young children don’t NEED to learn by computer just to keep them up-to-date with technology. They are exposed to computers every day of their lives, even if they don’t have one at home. (Anybody who has a TV knows about the marvels of computers, and all the wonders you can do with them.) The Baby Boomers learned how to use them just fine, thank you very much, despite not being exposed to them from birth onward. So get over yourselves, all you folks who think that kids won’t be able to eat, breathe, learn to read, or function in the workplace without being handed a mouse and a keyboard on their first birthday.)

November 26, 2011

Update: In October the Statesman published an article about employees at Google, Apple, Yahoo and Hewlett-Packard who send their kids to a school that doesn't even allow computers until the 8th grade, and then only for limited use. According to this article:
Regarding the need to learn to use computers, Alan Eagle, who holds a computer science degree from Dartmouth and works in executive communications at Google, says, “It’s supereasy. It’s like learning to use toothpaste. At Google and all these places, we make technology as brain-dead easy to use as possible. There’s no reason why kids can’t figure it out when they get older.”

’Nuff said.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

An Interesting Exception to the Rule

June 23, 2011

Although the Amish are known for shunning technology, apparently some make exceptions.

An Amish man sent over 600 inappropriate text messages to a 12-year-old girl.

However, he showed up for their rendezvous driving the traditional horse and buggy.

(Don’t worry. He found police waiting for him, instead of the girl.)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

No Surprise Here

June 23, 2011

Fried Kool-Aid is the latest creation from Charlie Boghosian of California. He offers a lot of unusual fried foods at his food stand: Klondike Bars, avocados, and a Krispy Kreme Chicken Sandwich.

The Associated Press article also states that Boghosian weighs 300 pounds.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

To the REAL Memories of Dad

June 21, 2011

I keep seeing all these touching things people write about their fathers on Father's Day. Very moving.

OK, so I bought my dad this card for Father’s Day: It has a picture of a guy grilling on the front, with some words (I don’t remember what); and when you open it, Johnny Cash sings, “And I found myself in a burning ring of fire…”

Isn’t it funny when you find out other people’s dads did the same thing yours did, and you realize, Hey! It wasn’t just MY DAD who:

• Charred the meat until a beaver couldn’t gnaw through it
(and poured gasoline on the fire)
• Drove non-stop on trips, because heaven forbid you waste money on motels
• Would never stop for potty breaks on those trips
• Would never leave on time for ANY school event
• Would never go anywhere fun because he didn’t want to deal with the traffic

Those are the cards I like!

Some people also talk about the good advice their fathers gave them. The only advice I ever remember my father giving me was at my sixth grade track meet. As we lined up for the race, Dad said, “Don’t look around, don’t look back, just keep your eye on the finish line.”

And actually, it was pretty good advice.

Thrifty is as Thrifty Does

June 21, 2011

Someone I know likes the song “I Believe” from The Book of Mormon, but wasn’t sure he wanted to buy the whole CD. I suggested that before he invested a whole $15 on the CD, he go to New York and see the show.

Unfortunately, he didn’t follow this sage advice. He bought the CD and really doesn’t like most of the songs.

See? I could’ve saved him that $15.

More Problem-Solving

June 21, 2011

In other creative problem-solving news:

My daughter thinks that the paint we used in the living room is too dark. But if you get up very early in the morning, it looks like we were hoping it would.

So, as I see it, the way to keep her from being bugged by it is to get her up at 6 a.m.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Plane Crazy

I am pathologically afraid of making airline reservations online. I am not making this up.

You’re asking a woman who gets overwhelmed by the green-bean section of the supermarket (French style, fresh cut, cuts I can’t even remember, salt, no salt…) to figure out which sets of dates (Start on a Tuesday? Stay over Saturday?); times (What about landing at Midway at midnight?); and airports (Is flying to Milwaukee cheaper than Chicago?) will yield the best travel rate. You have to change variables over and over; and remember what you’ve already looked at. It seriously scares me, to the point where I have to ask my husband to do it. I just can’t cope. (Travel agents were made for people like me.)

And you’d better not be in a hurry, because you get the best rates by making arrangements three weeks in advance.

And it’s permanent. No changes, unless you want to pay even more. So you’d better be darned sure you really, really want what you’re paying for before you hit the “Accept” button.

Boy, do I miss the days (yes, I’m old enough to remember them), when you booked a flight and, if things didn’t work out, you cancelled it. I get fascinated when I read books where they say, “She called and booked a flight for the following morning” or “So I changed to a later flight…” And they could do it. Just like that!

Furthermore, the airline wasn’t surprised that you actually wanted to take luggage with you on your cross-country or trans-ocean flight!


If I ever win the lottery, I’m going to celebrate by calling up an airline (or a travel agent), booking a flight for that day to anywhere I want to go, and flinging baggage on board with reckless abandon.

Just because I can.

(Update: By the way, I did do my own reservations this time; and either due to my sweaty-palm-inducing fear, or my lousy math skills I did, in fact, screw them up.)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I'm Getting Old

June 8, 2011

Is it a sign of age or merely incompetence when you have to call your nephew for grilling tips?

A Sad Commentary

June 8, 2011

I saw in the paper this morning that the man who kidnapped Elizabeth Smart got an extension of the time allotted to file an appeal of his sentence.

“I thought part of the plea agreement was that he and his wife wouldn’t appeal the sentence,” I thought.

Then: “Oh, wait. That was the other case.” (Jaycee Dugard)

Sad, sad, sad.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Write on Schedule

June 2, 2011

I know the question exercising all 12 of my readers: Why does she write a bunch at once, then write nothing for weeks?

The answer: Biorhythms. One week a month I cook great meals (Pecan-Crusted Chicken Breasts with Bourbon Sauce, anyone?), hunt down cobwebs, and actually exercise. That’s also when I do my writing. The rest of the time, I’m sort of on autopilot. Everything necessary still gets done, but without the same panache. (Who wants meatloaf?)

I’ve tried spacing out the posts, but when I do that, something else write-worthy comes up, so I end up posting all of it so it will still be timely. The world’s goofiness, alas, doesn’t follow my schedule.

This means I’ll never get paying gig as a blogger—I just can’t do it on a regular basis.

So now you know. Tune in again next month…

Going to Extremes (Part 1)

June 2, 2011

The Idaho Statesman reports that some Extreme Couponers in our area are stealing the coupons out of newspapers. Nothing like saving a few bucks to skew that moral compass.

Going to Extremes (Part 2)

June 2, 2011

In other extreme news, I read an article online yesterday about a man who videotaped Hollywood movers and shakers about the left-leaning bias in Hollywood. Some of the bias was pretty egregious, as when the very talented Dwight Schultz didn’t get chosen for a part on “St. Elsewhere” because he was a fan of Ronald Reagan. Other quotes are from people who say frankly that the culture of Hollywood is biased to the left.

This article made it sound as if everyone who admitted the bias was in favor of it, when all some quotes showed was that the person speaking acknowledged the bias.

So I hope that the people who read the article, see the tapes, and write the columns that protest the bias will carefully consider whom they vilify—just because somebody admits that there’s bias doesn’t mean that that person is practicing it.

Don’t go to extremes.

I Love it When I’m Right (Until the next study comes along)

June 2, 2011

I’ve always been a fan of whole milk, eggs and butter, even though they were supposed to do terrible things to our bodies.

It looks like eggs and butter have been de-vilified; and the other day I saw an article that says whole milk may not be as bad for you as previously thought. (Only one article, about one study—don’t get too excited).

So until the next study comes along, I’m sticking with the good stuff.

The Best Antidepressant? Milk and Cookies

June 1, 2011

Although I go through cycles of energy and autopilot, there are times when I’m stuck even below autopilot. I’m feeling a little blue or out of sorts, and I need a jump-start.

That’s when I go to my emergency back-up plan: Milk and Cookies.

I don’t know why, but they always get me back in gear. I think the milk energizes me—I can practically feel my muscles go sproing! when I down it. And the cookie—let’s face it, the cookie gets me to drink the milk. (Only one cookie, though, or the sugar will negate the positive effects and put me right back down where I started.)

Anyway, once I get the energy boost from the milk, I start moving. I exercise a little, or maybe even finish something on my to-do list. At any rate, I'm not sitting still. The movement and/or the feeling of accomplishment makes me feel better, and things start looking up.

I have no medical credentials, so don’t dump your medication. But maybe you should give this method a try the next time you need a jump-start.