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!

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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.

Is Killing Them the Only Answer? YES!

Here are a few passages from a fine and disturbing article written by Steven M. Warshawsky for The American Patriot. (It’s worth reading the whole thing, and here’s the link.)

Two recent articles on National Review Online demonstrate what I consider to be the two biggest failures to date in thinking about the War on Terror: a studied refusal by most westerners—including American conservatives who support the war—to admit that we are in a clash of civilizations with militant Islam, and a concomitant failure to recognize that America and her allies have not fought this war with anywhere near the ferocity required to win.

In discussing the second of the two articles, entitled “Hawkish Gloom” by Stanley Kurtz, Warshawsky says:

Kurtz recognizes the deadly seriousness of our present confrontation with militant Islam. He fears “we’re on a slow-motion track” to both world war abroad and nuclear terror at home. But rather than blow the trumpet and rally the troops, Kurtz sighs, shrugs his shoulders, and slumps down in the grip of powerlessness and despair. Or as he puts it, “hawkish gloom.”

…Kurtz further argues that, due to the nature of modern terrorist organizations, “decisive military victory” cannot be achieved against the forces of militant Islam. Implacable? Incapable of being defeated?

With all due respect, this is nonsense. No different than the myth of the invincible Viet Cong during the Vietnam War.

The truth is, to date, we have not made any effort to destroy the forces of militant Islam. We have only engaged in limited conventional actions in Afghanistan and Iraq and (supposedly) covert ops worldwide. That’s it. We haven’t mobilized the American people for war. We haven’t destroyed Iran and Syria. We haven’t closed radical mosques or shut down the jihadist propaganda networks. We haven’t conducted targeted assassinations of jihadi leaders across the globe. We haven’t made it clear to the terrorists and their supporters that they cannot win and that they will die.

How can Kurtz be so sure the enemy cannot be defeated? We haven’t even tried.

Warshawsky concludes that, “…the answer is to fight harder, not resign ourselves to an even deadlier future”, and I agree.

We are so damn civilized that we can’t conceive of an enemy that can’t be talked to, can’t be negotiated with, and can’t be motivated by anything we have to offer or threaten. You might as well try to negotiate with cockroaches under your kitchen sink. There is only one answer, and that is to defeat them – that means kill them. That is the only situation under which they will no longer be a danger.

The impracticality of thinking that we can kill each and every Islamofascist in the world is obvious. But we can try to kill as many as possible, and weaken them as a group. We will always have to be on guard for the individual terrorist, here in America and everywhere else in the world. But the dead ones can’t attack us.

That many innocents will die in the conflict is certain. But that can’t be the primary concern. If this war is not fought in earnest, and with a clear determination to win and protect the people, land, culture and values that we hold dear, then we will all die anyway. Many civilians died during World War II. Would you rather that we had never taken up the fight? Would you like to live in a world meekly given over to the likes of Hitler and Tojo? For that is surely where we’re headed if we don’t wise up, and quickly.

Published in: on August 11, 2006 at 10:02 pm  Comments (6)  

Come Take a Look…

writing1.jpgThose of you who read this site may be interested in taking a look at my new blog Writing English – The International Language of Business (click here). Whereas Rose Petals is my fun blog, Writing English is about my business as a “writing repair” specialist. In short, I’m a writing fixer-upper for people who need a little (or a lot of) help with their writing.

I invite a dialogue with other business owners, or anybody who cares about good writing. Perhaps you’ll join in.

Hope to see you there,

Judy Rose

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Key Concepts: assisting management, basic skills, business writing, clients, communication, conflicts, consultant, customer communi- cation, customer relations, disputes, education, effective communi- cation, employee communication, employee support services, English, English writing, formulation of text, getting clients, grammar, international companies, language, lawsuits, marketing, organization of text, sales, sales pitch, small business, spelling, text, time-saving, writing, writing errors, writing mistakes, writing repair, writing skills.

Published in: on August 10, 2006 at 11:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Think Twice About Ordering This!

 

I happened on an article today that brightened my day, not because it contained good news — on the contrary. It was about a serious subject, I suppose; the dangers of eating too much fast food. But the way the writer (Dan Neill, writing on LATimes.com) described some of the offerings of restaurants like KFC, really made me laugh. You have to register with LATimes.com to see the whole article, so I will save you the trouble and just share the best parts.

On KFC’s new Famous Bowls (tub of mashed potatoes or rice, topped with yellow corn, fried chicken nuggets, gravy and three varieties of grated cheese), Neill says:

And now, in the interests of participatory journalism, I take a bite. Hmmm. Uh-huh. OK. It’s like throwing up in reverse…

A couple of questions immediately present themselves: Why not go all the way and top the Famous Bowls with an apple pie and pour Coca-Cola over them? To save customers the struggle to pocket their change at the drive-thru, why not throw it on top as well? If the product developers thought Famous Bowls were a good idea, I have two words for them: chicken smoothie.

On some of the competitors’ menu items, he says:

To keep pace with McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s pumped up their dollar-priced menu offerings. Wendy’s, deciding its Biggie drink wasn’t biggie enough, recently began offering sodas in 42-ounce cups. Great, a beverage I can swim in…

The Southern California restaurant chain The Hat serves French fries in a paper grocery bag and a Pastrami Burger the size of a moose’s head. It’s the only place I know where meat is a condiment.

He’s funny, no? The article makes the point that most of this stuff is just awful for you.
I remember when MacDonald’s original chicken nuggets came out. They were so terrible (kind of slimy inside), I suspected they were made from beaks and toes, rather than any of the more edible parts of a chicken. I’ve heard they’re better now. One of the executives must have tried them. On the other hand, I do like the taste of KFC’s popcorn chicken. The coating is nice and crispy, and there’s even a little bit of chicken in each one, although on some of the smaller pieces, you have to search for it. They could save a lot of overhead by just serving the crisped coating all by itself. Oh my, I think I just invented the next craze. I’d better head for the patent office right away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on August 2, 2006 at 6:46 pm  Comments (1)