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)  

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)  

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  

Alzheimer’s Delay Device

I discovered this game on the computer called Super Bounce Out. You are presented with a screen filled with all different colored balls. You line them up into rows of at least three of the same color by clicking on two balls, which exchange places. When you’ve formed a line of three, those three will bounce out of the screen and send the neighboring balls ricocheting against each other to form new patterns. There’s a time limit, and if you don’t clear enough balls during the limit for that level, the whole screen explodes and gives you this little “nyah nyah” sound, just to make sure you know you stink at this game. (Michael thinks the sound is more “beep boop” but whatever it is, it still means you stink.) If you clear the required number of balls, then you advance to succeeding levels, where rows of three (or four or five, if you’re good enough to make them) are worth more points. Of course, higher levels require you to clear more balls, so the excitement builds. Got it? Oh, and there’s this guy saying “boing, boing, boing” while all the balls are bouncing around.

You may think this is a colossal waste of time, but I can think of three good things about it:

1) I enjoy it, and the better I play, the more I enjoy it.

2) Playing seems to release a part of my brain that does its best work when I’m not watching. So I come up with good ideas while I’m playing.

3) The other part of my brain (the part that’s playing the game) has to be alert, and has to look for patterns, and anticipate patterns that will form as balls bounce out of the screen. There’s also hand-eye coordination from using the mouse. This is good exercise, i.e., an Alzheimer’s Delay Device.

If all that sounds like too much justification, then stop after No. 1.

When I first started playing Super Bounce Out, I couldn’t find the patterns fast enough. I got “nyah nyah-ed” very quickly. I was lucky to score 3,000 points (baby stuff). Naturally, the more I played, the better I got. I learned to recognize set-ups for aligning four or five balls and my scores started to reflect it. On the day I first reached 100,000 points, I felt like a teenager. Now, 100,000 points is routine. I am writing this post to announce to the world that I have scored 369,938!

But I have no objective idea whether that’s fantastic, really good, average, or still baby stuff (compared to an actual teenager). So you people out there who play Super Bounce Out, please tell me how I’m doing? I really need to know.

Published in: on July 17, 2006 at 9:27 pm  Comments (1)  

Jumping In

This reminds me of the day, many years ago, when I was a senior about to graduate from Brooklyn College. The only thing standing between me and my diploma was the swimming test. Yes, you had to be able to swim to graduate from the City University of New York in those days. These days, you don’t even have to be able to read!

So I’m standing on the edge, down at the far end of the pool, looking out over 8-foot deep water and calculating that at 5’4″, I’m surely going to die within about 60 seconds after I hit. But I had no choice, so I took the biggest breath I could, and said to myself “screw it” and jumped in the water.

And somehow, even though I had never learned to swim as a kid, and had only spent a few weeks splashing around in the shallow end during this required swimming course, I surfaced, I swam, I passed, and I graduated. And then I lived happily ever after — well, happily for the most part, and not forever yet, since I’m still here and have no idea what may be around the next corner, which is why I’m starting this blog. You’ve got to keep learning new things or you’ll sink to the bottom.

But today, I feel like I’m back at the edge of the pool, since I’ve never done a Blog before, and everybody else in the world seems to be so much better at computer stuff than I am. Anyway, SCREW IT! … here I go.

HAH! The water feels good, and if I just keep moving, it’s going to be fine.

So let us begin — there’s so much to talk about.

Back about as far as I can remember, I liked to write. Down in the basement of the house in Brooklyn where I grew up, on a bookshelf filled with stuff nobody ever looks at any more, I found my third grade notebook; one of those black and whites with the word COMPOSITIONS on the cover. I brought that notebook back home to California, and have kept it like a treasure. I guess it is, to me.

I was 8. Every day, we had to write something called Daily Report. It didn’t matter what it was — it could be a short story, a poem, commentary on something — but we had to write. Here are a couple of excerpts.

DAILY REPORT

Today is Mon. Mar. 8, 1954. Today was the first time in my life that my mother let me come to school all by myself. I brought my girl friend with me. I am not supposed to come to school myself until I am 9 years old.

My mommy bought me new crayons, and my aunt bought my sister and I coloring books. My sister is sick in bed with the measles. She does not have crayons so she uses mine. THE END

I guess “by myself” means without Mommy. The girlfriend didn’t count as a person. This report was followed by an illustration of a girl in a green robe with red spots all over her hands and face. Why I drew her with blond hair, when my sister’s hair is black, is beyond me.

DAILY REPORT

Today, May 21, 1954, is the very last day that any child is going to spoil our class and make us all be punished. The next time any child does spoil our class he or she will be sent to the office and have his or her mother come up to school. It is not fair for any one child to be so selfish.

How’s THAT for 8-year-old clarity?

Here is the last one (and then I will stop, because maybe it’s just ME that loves these.)

IF I WERE CINDERELLA

If I were Cinderella I’d be so sweet,
If I were Cinderella, a prince I’d meet.
If I were Cinderella, I’d hear a chime,
And that would mean, to go it was time.
They tried to wear the tiny shoe
But it didn’t fit them, and it won’t fit YOU.
Cinderella was married then,
Now she lives in a palace and has children ten.

Despite the little tantrum in the middle there, about how your feet are probably just as big as the two ugly stepsisters’, I got an “A” on that one.

Now that I think of it, my Daily Report book was a lot like Blogging. Imagine that!

So from these humble beginnings…

I’ll be back before you know it, sharing more stuff. Until then…

judyrose June 28, 2006

Published in: on June 28, 2006 at 5:28 pm  Leave a Comment