How do you handle interruptions? I don’t handle them too well. I wish I dealt with them better, but I prefer it when life happens smoothly, according to (my) plan.
A familiar story can teach us a lot about interruptions. The story takes place in the early morning, near the end of Peter’s workday. He had been fishing all night. All that was left to do before going home to bed was to wash his nets and make any needed repairs to them.
While Peter worked on his nets, he listened to Jesus teach a crowd nearby. Peter met his first interruption the moment Jesus stepped into his boat. The Lord wanted Peter to push off from shore so He could be heard better by the growing crowd. Peter may have thought, “Hope this won’t take too long. I’ve still got more cleaning to do before I can go home.” Continue reading
I am issuing an assignment for you and your kids, nieces and nephews, grandchildren, or play date friends. This mission, if you choose to accept it, will lead you to information online that is critical to the deployment of forthcoming spy tasks. You and your agents will follow directives with time outdoors regardless of circumstances beyond your control (i.e., weather). You may complete your mission in your own backyard or a nearby park, or you may challenge yourself by pursuing observations in destinations further out: go on a wildlife observation hike.
Step one: background research. Go to National Wildlife Federation’s website then click on your state that appears on the US map. Narrow it down to county or zip code. You will be able to see how many different species of wildlife other people in your area have reported. This may be motivation for your young assistant to put her own observations on the website.
Step two: join the agent legion. Register your name on the site and submit. There are categories with photos that help novice wildlife watchers know what to look for. Clicking on the photo will provide young researchers with descriptions, habitat information, and fun facts about the wildlife they might observe. Continue reading
My columns of the past few months have all been about the Blue Zones. Those areas on Earth where many citizens live longer, healthier lives than most people in the United States. Greece, Japan, Sardinia, and Costa Rica all qualify as Blue Zones. Even Loma Linda, California, where most people are vegetarians, live an average lifespan of ten years longer than the rest of the United States as a whole.
First of all, almost all of the Blue Zones are in areas that Americans tend to think of as “underdeveloped” and cut off by water. When I look at the Blue Zone areas (with the possible exception of Loma Linda, California) I sometimes think that just living in such a beautiful area , surrounded by gorgeous, blue unpolluted water would be enough to lead to a better life. And these places have plenty of natural sunlight without smog. And few roads. I’m reminded of the couple (he was a doc and she was a judge) on my Costa Rica trip who wanted “the roads fixed.” That would, of course, brought in a bigger population and totally changed the character of Costa Rica. I was there twenty years ago. Maybe it’s already happened. Maybe our worldwide population is already growing that rapidly. Continue reading
The first version of “Yankee Doodle” is generally attributed to a British army physician, Dr. Richard Schuckberg, during the French and Indian War. It was a satiric look at New England’s Yankees. According to one story, Shuckburgh wrote the song after seeing the appearance of Colonial troops under Colonel Thomas Fitch, V, the son of Connecticut Governor Thomas Fitch. It is believed that the tune comes from the nursery rhyme Lucy Locket.
“Brother Ephraim sold his cow
And bought him a commission
And then he went to Canada
To fight for the nation;
But when Ephraim,
he came home
He proved an arrant coward,
He wouldn’t fight the
For fear of being devoured.
Sheep’s head and vinegar
Buttermilk and tansy
Boston Is a Yankee town,
Sing “Hey, doodle dandy!” Continue reading
There is a clear political agenda to destroy the traditional family in America, and it’s facilitated by public schools. Never before have all parents been legally “separated” from their minor children by the government. Until now, the American family was considered to be the foundation of civic life; the smallest form of government, where children are taught responsibility, respect for authority, and national pride.
In 2005 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found in Fields v. Palmdale School District “that the Meyer-
Pierce right [of parents to direct the upbringing of their children] does not exist beyond the threshold of the school door. We conclude that the parents are possessed of no constitutional right to prevent the public schools from providing information on the subject [of sexuality] to their students in any forum or manner they select.” Although, schools claim students can OPT-OUT of offensive curriculum, it has become more difficult because the content is taught in every subject from Health to History. Continue reading
When my mother became very ill years ago, her insurance provided home healthcare. However, my sister and I were very much involved. We frequently took over on weekends and evenings during the week. The illness was quite prolonged, and caregivers came and went along with good days and bad. She had a hospital bed in her family room. There were sliding glass doors that looked out upon the back yard in which she loved to putter about on better days. Mom enjoyed the butterflies most of all; particularly the large, yellow Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly.
The Sunday before she died, I sat with her, talking. I was hoping I could somehow reach her. Warm sunshine filled the room. I had opened the sliding doors to let in the warmth. A butterfly drifted close to her bed for a brief heart-wrenching moment. I began to tell her a story about an incident that occurred when I was a teacher in the early 60’s. Late in the fall of that school year, one of my second graders brought a large green caterpillar into class. We decided to see if we could provide it with an area in which to make a cocoon. Continue reading
Abundance of caution applied pending definitive news on possible TB infection
Chendra, a 26-year-old Asian elephant at the Oregon Zoo, is pregnant and expected to deliver another member of Portland’s elephant family in late 2020.
The pregnancy — while long hoped for and strongly encouraged by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan for Asian elephants — was a happy surprise for zoo staff. Over the past decade, Chendra has spent time with several male elephants but until recently was not observed engaging in breeding behavior, according to Bob Lee, who oversees the zoo’s elephant area. At around 26, she was nearing the outer age limit for first-time elephant moms; elephants that don’t conceive by their mid-20s rarely conceive at all.
“We are so excited for Chendra,” Lee said. “Raising a calf is one of the most enriching things an elephant can experience, and we didn’t know whether she would ever have that chance. Asian elephants have evolved to live in social groups, and every member of the group has some role in raising young. We’re thrilled by the prospect that Chendra and the rest of the herd may get that opportunity in the near future.” Continue reading
Uh-oh. New data from the notorious pro-homosexual organization GLAAD reveals that
America is rapidly falling out of love with the radial LGBT movement. And guess who is leading this wave of disaffection? Millennials aged 18-34.
Big Gay is non-plussed. Said the New Civil Rights Movement, “Days before the nation’s 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and the start of World Pride in New York, a new study is measuring American attitudes toward LGBTQ people – and the results aren’t stellar.” Continue reading
If you care about teenagers and their mental health, the rush to legalize marijuana in America is a great example of a really, really bad idea.
THC is the active ingredient in pot. According to the Washington Post, some of today’s marijuana products average a 68% concentration of THC, stratospherically higher than what my college classmates smoked back in the day. This is not your father’s dope. One dad whose son wound up in an expensive rehab program calls it “nuclear-strength weed.”
Science confirms that earlier and more frequent use of this high-octane cannabis does put adolescents in greater jeopardy of a number of pathologies, including substance abuse disorders and mental health issues. It has a clearly established and negative impact on school performance.
And the particularly noteworthy problem is that pot has a dramatic effect on developing teen brains. The part of the brain that controls problem solving, memory, language, and judgment is not fully developed until age 25, and marijuana messes with that part of the growing brain. As a result, we are seeing an epidemic of dope-induced psychosis, addiction, suicide, depression, and anxiety. Continue reading
How does that idiom go? “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry,” or so said Robert Burns, but in my opinion that’s no excuse to at least have a few ideas in your back pocket for that stretch of two-and-a-half months once school gets out.
Yes, it is June and there will be a lot more kids staying up late, playing outside, taking family camping trips, and meeting friends for fun rather than study groups. Summer is here and that sends some parents into crazy mode as they wonder what to do with all that time.
Last year on the final day at our school a large group of about forty kids and twenty parents descended upon a local ice cream spot (walkable from school) and celebrated the arrival of summer with the consumption of frozen treats. This year we plan to mark the last day in the same fashion but I have a little more in mind than simple ice cream or frozen yogurt. Continue reading