Picking Up Where Your Search Engine Leaves Off

Here are some of the words and phrases people typed into their search engines, and wound up at my blog. These are all for real! Since my actual posts don’t provide the answers or information the readers were looking for, I thought I’d do it here.

1. Can rose petals in a bath kill you?
Well, that depends. If you sprinkle a few rose petals over the surface of your bath water, I think you’ll survive. However, if you fill the tub with petals, only allowing room for a small amount of water (enough to make them soggy) and then get into the tub, ducking your head to inhale the flowery aroma; then YES, I think rose petals in the bath can kill you – when they fill up your mouth and nostrils and cut off your air supply. So be really careful about doing that.

2. Funny thoughts on what animals think
What do you think a dog thinks? No matter what your answer, if you are not a dog, you have no way of knowing whether you’re right or wrong. Despite that, all the pet owners I know have an annoying habit of providing voice-overs for their pets’ activities. So when the dog comes over carrying his leash in his mouth, the owner says, “He’s thinking, take me out for a walk,” when it’s just as likely the dog is thinking, “Mary spilled chicken gravy on my leash and it tastes really good. Do we have any more of that chicken gravy?” So my thought on what animals think is: don’t be so sure!

3. Rose petal cells for 11 year olds
I suppose this person was searching for a source of rose petals to use in a school project for her 6th grader. She had already bought the “Junior Scientist Mighty Microscope Kit” and was now looking for neat things to view at the cellular level. Why she needed the internet to find rose petals when she could just go to her neighbor’s yard and steal a few, is beyond me, but hey, I’m here to help. So here is my response: go to your neighbor’s yard and steal a few. On the other hand, if this person is looking for cartoon film cel pictures of rose petals that appeared in some Looney Tunes episode back in the 50s, to use as decoration for her 11-year-old’s bedroom wall, then here’s an idea. Since antique rose petal cartoon cels are probably going to cost you plenty, and a pre-teenager isn’t going to appreciate the value, go to your neighbor’s yard and steal a few. Press them between two pieces of clear cellophane, and put them in a frame. Voila! Rose Petal Cels for 11-year-olds. (My apologies to the neighbor, but we’re dealing in practical solutions here.)

4. McDonald nugget chicken heads
This presents an interesting dilemma. Do McDonald’s chicken nuggets have heads? Is one side the top and the other side the bottom, so that when you flip one, it either lands heads or tails? You’ll have to check the McDonald’s website for the answer to that one. But here is another take on the question. I have always thought McDonald’s chicken nuggets were made from all the parts of the chicken that other chicken restaurants throw away. In one of my posts, I said that I thought the nuggets were composed of beaks and toes (clearly the reason the person who typed this phrase ended up at Rose Petals). But it never entered my mind that they might also contain the heads. That must be the piece of information this reader was hoping to find. Sorry to disappoint you, but I’m still scratching my head on that one. I will say this: if it has occurred to you that the nuggets may contain chicken heads, DO NOT EAT THEM.

5. Is newspaper toxic to dogs?
If all your dog does is pee on the newspaper, then probably not. But if he eats newspaper, and keeps eating it until he’s dead, then clearly he had a suicide wish, and it’s not about the newspaper. What dog in his right mind would eat newspaper, when there’s a perfectly tasty chicken gravy covered leash in the closet? Now, if you’re asking whether reading the newspaper is toxic to dogs, then I would say YES. With all the bad news they’re reporting these days, it’s toxic to everybody.

6. Good conclusion sentences
This comes from my other blog, Writing English. The person who typed this one into the search engine believes that after he’s written his letter, or story, or the great American novel, somebody on the internet is going to be able to tell him how to finish the thing. So here are a few suggestions for the last line.

This looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Goodnight, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.
And away we go.
I’ll think about that tomorrow.
Now go do the right thing.

 

Bdeah, bdeah, bdeah, that’s all folks!

Published in: on October 9, 2006 at 8:36 pm  Comments (2)  

Gladiator – American Style

I received this photo-montage from a friend today. It’s a reminder of the kind of folks that are fighting for us, and how they are regarded by the local people in Iraq. I think it’s worth a look.

Published in: on October 4, 2006 at 11:30 pm  Comments (2)  

It’s Time for Some More Wonderful Pictures

I’m tired of Bill Clinton’s meltdown, the latest airport security rules, and wondering whether it’s safe to start eating spinach again. So here are some terrific baby animal pictures to put the focus back on what’s important.

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All of these pictures came from Yahoo News photos or Yahoo images, and I would love to credit the great photographers, if I only knew who they were. Yes, I admit to a special prejudice for kitties of all stripes (and spots) but looking at these pictures, can you blame me?

Happy Wednesday everybody!

Published in: on September 27, 2006 at 9:44 pm  Comments (17)  

You Call This Torture?

It looks like we’ve completely lost our minds. If you think we’re mistreating the terrorists being held at Guantanamo Bay, think again. We may actually be giving them more comfort and respect than they’ve ever enjoyed in their lives. All one hears from the main stream media is how we have to stop torturing these prisoners.

Now, in an article in the online edition of the New York Post, Richard Miniter (best selling author and expert on terrorism), who recently returned from a tour of Guantanamo, tells quite a different story. You can read the whole article here, but I’ll give you a sample:

The Pentagon seemed to be hoping to disarm its critics by showing them how well it cares for captured terrorists. The trip was more alarming than disarming. I spent several hours with Rear Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., who heads the joint task force that houses and interrogates the detainees. (The military isn’t allowed to call them “prisoners.”)The high-minded critics who complain about torture are wrong. We are far too soft on these guys – and, as a result, aren’t getting the valuable intelligence we need to save American lives.

The politically correct regulations are unbelievable. Detainees are entitled to a full eight hours sleep and can’t be woken up for interrogations. They enjoy three meals and five prayers per day, without interruption. They are entitled to a minimum of two hours of outdoor recreation per day.

Interrogations are limited to four hours, usually running two – and (of course) are interrupted for prayers. One interrogator actually bakes cookies for detainees, while another serves them Subway or McDonald’s sandwiches. Both are available on base. (Filet o’ Fish is an al Qaeda favorite.)

And lest you think that accommodating their sleeping, eating, exercising, and praying needs is all the consideration they get, we are apparently accommodating their planning, plotting, weapon-making, and al Qaeda cell-forming needs as well.

Adm. Harris admitted to me that a multi-cell al Qaeda network has developed in the camp. Military intelligence can’t yet identify their leaders, but notes that they have cells for monitoring the movements and identities of guards and doctors, cells dedicated to training, others for making weapons and so on.

And they can make weapons from almost anything. Guards have been attacked with springs taken from inside faucets, broken fluorescent light bulbs and fan blades. Some are more elaborate. “These folks are MacGyvers,” Harris said.

Other cells pass messages from leaders in one camp to followers in others. How? Detainees use the envelopes sent to them by their attorneys to pass messages. (Some 1,000 lawyers represent 440 prisoners, all on a pro bono basis, with more than 18,500 letters in and out of Gitmo in the past year.) Guards are not allowed to look inside these envelopes because of “attorney-client privilege” – even if they know the document inside is an Arabic-language note written by a prisoner to another prisoner and not a letter to or from a lawyer.

That’s right: Accidentally or not, American lawyers are helping al Qaeda prisoners continue to plot.There is little doubt what this note-passing and weapons-making is used for. The military recorded 3,232 incidents of detainee misconduct from July 2005 to August 2006 – an average of more than eight incidents per day. Some are nonviolent, but the tally includes coordinated attacks involving everything from throwing bodily fluids on guards (432 times) to 90 stabbings with homemade knives. One detainee slashed a doctor who was trying to save his life; the doctors wear body armor to treat their patients.

Meanwhile, we’re spending a fortune giving them free dental care, vaccinations, eyeglasses, and prosthetic limbs.

Are the people who create these policies so afraid of criticism from political rivals and the international community that they’ve lost all focus on who these prisoners are?

Reading this article, I can’t help but think that we’ve completely lost our minds.

I Will Never Forget

(This post also appears on my other blog Writing English. I was due for a post there today, but “business as usual” didn’t seem appropriate.)


wtc.jpgIt was just about time for me to get up. My husband was already busy watching the early stock market reports on TV. As I was contemplating whether I could sneak another ten minutes, he came into the bedroom and said, “You won’t believe what just happened. A plane hit the World Trade Center.” My immediate thought was that it must have been a small private plane. I clicked on the television and sat up in bed, staring in disbelief at the screen as it became clear that it was not a small plane, and it was not an accident.

My boss called to tell me not to come to work. Nobody knew if L.A. was about to become another target, and our office was in one of the tallest buildings.

As the morning progressed, we watched aghast as the towers fell. We were able to call our relatives in the East and confirm that everybody was OK. We learned that the front lawn of my parents’ home in the middle of Brooklyn was littered with computer printout pages that had flown all the way from lower Manhattan when the buildings collapsed. I think I have never felt such rage as I did that morning. And I cried; for those who died, for their families, for our wonderful New York City, for America, for myself.

Now, five years later, I will never forget the people who lost their lives, and those who lost their loved ones. And I will never forget the people who did this. Never.

Published in: on September 11, 2006 at 5:50 pm  Comments (4)  

NEWS FLASH – DOGS CAN READ!

…at least that’s the inescapable conclusion I came to when I opened Sunday’s newspaper.

I spend a lot of time thinking about writing, and on occasion, I’ll spot something relevant in the paper that’s worth sharing. Today’s subject isn’t an article or an editorial. I found it in the coupon circular. It’s an ad for a new product called Fortune Snookies – doggie cookie snacks. Each one has something written on it, like those candy hearts you see around Valentine’s Day that say BE MINE or I LOVE YOU. Only these say things like “the bark stops here” or “I only fetch Snookies.”

I know you’re going to say that this product is aimed at the human who actually goes to the supermarket and shells out the money. But I am convinced that the manufacturer truly intends for the cookies to be read by DOGS! Because right there in the ad, in big bold print, it says: “WOW! Different fortunes in every box. Read ‘em and eat ‘em!” So what other conclusion can I draw?

Still, I’m left with a few questions:

1) The ad includes a coupon for $2.00 off. If they’re willing to knock $2.00 off the price, just how much do these things cost? The package is only 8.4 ounces. By my calculation, that makes the price at least $4.00 per pound. I can buy top sirloin steak on sale for $2.77 per pound. It may not have anything written on it, but we’re talking about a treat here. If I were a dog, which one would wake up my salivary glands – cookies or steak?

2) If, as I conclude above, the messages are intended for dogs, wouldn’t your pooch have to be very near-sighted to read them while his nose is in the bowl? Are these cookies going to spawn a whole new industry in doggie reading glasses? Will we be seeing doggie optometrists selling fashion eye-wear for Fido? What if you’re just tossing the cookies to him one by one? Can he read them on the fly? These are some practical considerations that don’t appear to have been addressed by the manufacturer.

3) Some of the messages shown in the ad are “Life is Like a Box of Snookies” and “You Had Me at HERE BOY.” When was the last time your dog sat through Forrest Gump or Jerry McGuire?

4) Why are these things in English? It’s highly disputed whether dogs understand English at all. Wouldn’t it make more sense to print WOOF, or RUFF RUFF, or YIP on the cookies? If these messages are supposed to be amusing, how’s poor Fluffy supposed to get the joke if the cookie is written in a foreign language? It’s just not fair.

I think I have to write to the CCLU (Canine Civil Liberties Union) about this.

Hey, Bowser! Come here and translate this for me.

Even I need help with writing sometimes!

Published in: on August 28, 2006 at 6:21 pm  Comments (9)  

Wonderful Pictures – Volume 2

img_0015_edited.JPGIf every picture is worth 1,000 words, you can consider yourself saved from a very long post indeed. We just got a digital camera – our first. There is much more manual to read, but like with any new toy, you want to play, not read. So we took it outside just to see what would happen. This dragonfly sat still just long enough to be immortalized.

Now I’ll share a few other pictures (plucked off the internet) that you may enjoy.

Ever wonder what cherries look like before they’re picked?

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These are gooseberries. Hairy little critters, aren’t they?

Having the new camera got me interested in closeups. These are dahlia petals.

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No photo gallery is complete without some wildlife. Here’s a sweet Mom and Baby shot of Canada Geese.

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Can’t forget kitty cats. This is one of my favorite Cheetah pictures.

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Are you smiling yet?

Published in: on August 22, 2006 at 7:36 pm  Comments (4)  

Sometimes, the Old Ways are Better

The educational system is failing our kids and fueling some serious problems that are already showing up in the workplace. In a Letter to the Editor that appeared in today’s Orange County Register, Diane Singer makes these comments:

Standardized tests do not measure learning. Our schools train kids to take tests.

Parents should be furious that valuable instructional hours are wasted on a test-crazy movement that robs our kids of real learning and critical thinking opportunities. Sure the scores are higher; but can the child apply this knowledge, synthesize information, write a sentence or solve a math problem outside the classroom in the years to come?

We are already starting to see the effects in our colleges and in the workforce; kids who cannot write, perform basic math or think through a problem. We are on the verge of realizing a generation of children who lack basic academic and critical-thinking skills because they did not have the advantage of a learning-centered curriculum. What then?

You said it, Diane!

This very problem is something I’ve been writing about in my business blog “Writing English.” I offer a remedy that can be applied in the workplace. Companies can hire me to work directly with their employees as a “writing fixer-upper.” I review, edit, and help formulate the correspondence and documents employees need to produce. I solve the problem of bad writing for my clients, but it’s after the fact.

If anybody is seriously interested in solving the problem at its root, what is needed is a turnabout in the philosophy of education. Schools should be focusing on basic skills, core knowledge, and high standards. Pop-psych theories about self-esteem, union-driven policies that make it nearly impossible to get rid of ineffective teachers, and political correctness that wastes hours of class time dealing with all sorts of multi-cultural topics, all come at the expense of the “Three Rs.” They all contribute to the void that becomes evident after graduation when students venture out into the world.

At the risk of sounding like your grandmother, when I was in school we also had standardized tests. We had to pass a State Regents exam in every major high school subject in order to graduate. We weren’t trained how to take the test. We were just taught the coursework, and because we had to meet high standards, most of us passed the tests. We never heard of adults who couldn’t write a cogent sentence, or do basic math problems.

Last week I went to the grocery store for a few items. I bought only three things, costing $2.41, $3.45, and $1.60. I was in a hurry, so while I was waiting in line, I did the addition in my head, and took out my money. It so happened that I had exact change. When the cashier rang up my order, I already had $7.46 in my hand. The bagger, a young girl, was amazed that I knew the cost. “How did you do that?” she said. “You must be a genius.” “No,” I told her, “just old.” (In reality, I’m middle-aged, but in comparison to that girl, I’m ancient.)

Sometimes the old ways are better.

Published in: on August 17, 2006 at 8:40 pm  Comments (13)  

Hit Us With Your Best Shot!

If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, you don’t want to miss the Holocaust Cartoon Fair. You’ll have to go to Tehran, but I hear it’s worth the trip. (If you want to read all about it, click here.)

“We staged this fair to explore the limits of freedom Westerners believe in,” Masoud Shojai, head of the country’s “Iran Cartoon” association and the fair organizer, said.

“They can freely write anything they like about our prophet, but if one raises doubts about the Holocaust he is either fined or sent to prison,” he added.

Prison? I never knew that.

The contest was announced in February in a tit-for-tat move after caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed were first printed in Denmark and then picked up and published worldwide, enraging Muslims.

Over 200 cartoons will be on display. Prizes will be awarded for the top three entries.

These guys bring out the nit-picker in me. So while I’m at it, how do we spell holocaust?

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Iranian women attend the international cartoon contest on the Holocaust in Tehran. (AFP/Behrouz Mehri)

But seriously, I’ll take a cartoon war over the other kind any day of the week.

 

Wonderful Pictures – because life is good!

A few weeks ago, I started this blog for fun. I tried to write with a sense of humor, talking about my earliest work (Cinderella Poem from the 3rd grade) and sharing my family recipe for Kreplach. Lately, though, I’ve gotten caught up in current events, and have been writing about terrorism and killing and other dreadful topics.

It’s time to remember that, for the most part, life is very good. So today, I will show you some wonderful pictures that I found on the internet. I can’t properly credit them, because they are just random shots from Yahoo image searches. But I thank whoever took these pictures for brightening my day. I hope they also brighten yours.

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There, now I feel much better.

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