Sunday, December 31, 2006

Dinner for One-"Same procedure as last year"

So this silly eleven minute flick is what they do for New Year's in Germany-they did alright giving the world Christmas trees, but I'm not so sure about this one.(it is a British flick so I guess we can blame them) It has become the Rocky Horror Picture Show of Germany. It is quite funny-just not that funny

From Wikipedia;

Dinner for One, also known as The 90th Birthday, or by its corresponding German title, Der 90. Geburtstag, is a comedy sketch written by British author Lauri Wylie for the theatre in the 1920s. German television station Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) recorded a performance of the piece in 1963, in its original English language. This short comical play subsequently went on to become the most frequently repeated TV programme ever (according to the Guinness Book of Records, 1988-1995 eds.; later editions no longer have the category).

The 11 minute black-and-white 1963 TV recording featuring British comedians Freddie Frinton and May Warden has become an integral component of the New Year's Eve schedule of several German television stations and an absolute cult television classic in Germany, Norway, Sweden, and Austria: On New Year's Eve 2003 alone, the sketch was broadcast 19 times (on various channels). As of 2005, the sketch has been repeated more than 230 times. It is famous in other countries as well — including Denmark, Finland, German-speaking Switzerland and South Africa.

More here

It is a curiosity that this sketch has become a tradition in Germany, where up to half the population may see it every year, but it is almost totally unknown in Britain. It is also shown on New Year's Eve in many other mainland European countries, particularly Scandinavia and also by Australia's SBS channel. In Norway, however, it is shown every year on the eve of December 23. It is known as far away as South Africa. In Sweden, the show was put on hold for a period for six years, deemed "unsuitable" because of butler James' heavy drinking.

Although the sketch is most popular in non-English speaking countries, it is typically shown in the original English without dubbing or subtitles. Curiously, the film remains practically unknown to the English speaking world (except for Australia). It has never been broadcast on TV in Britain.[1].

The line "Same procedure as last year" has become a very popular catchphrase in Germany, according to Tim Gruhl, the programme editor at the Hamburg-based television Channel NDR. The phrase "has made its way into everyday vocabulary, and even crops up in newspaper headlines and advertisements.

Happy New Year!!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Have a Wonderful New Year

Just a quick post, so my blog doesn't look quite so abandoned.
I am throughly enjoying the holidays-we have had wonderful Christmas and we are actually cooking a goose for New Years. We are also going to attend the annual Polar Bear plunge at the Flathead lake. My 8 year old daughter can't wait to jump in with (as per tradition) a bathing suit and ear muffs .
She says it's practice as she wants to be researcher in Antarctica one day.

Oh ya-of course, I am organizing the house and such but am taking off from running for a couple of weeks; I refuse to be seem working out right after New Years.


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Santa Claus Conquers The Martians

Gather round with the popcorn and your pithy, smart assed, MST 3000 style commentary; Santa might be in over his head with this one!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Feeling stressed? Hold Your Husband's Hand

This is another in a series of "no duh" stories. It is up there with the breaking news that taking vitamins and eating healthy keeps your heart healthier. It is nice to see it in print, though, something positive about marriage. You've got to love this part,

"subjected 16 married women to the threat of electric shock "

LOL-I hope they were paid well. A little too Milgramesque for my taste. I think most women in a healthy marriage felt less stressed holding their husband's hand because they knew that when faced with the

"threat of electric shock "
that their husband was about to kick some researcher ass (I know mine would). Then we'd have a whole new study.

"Researchers feel far less stressed coming to from unconsciousness, when holding the hand of a fellow researcher(if they had a strong relationship.)"

If they didn't, the other researcher would have bolted for the door and all the years spent running from bullies would have finally paid off for him.

-Tasha Rhodes Libertarian Girl Montana Homeschool

Feeling stressed?

By Belinda Goldsmith
NEW YORK, Dec 19 (Reuters Life!)
- Women feeling stressed this holiday season could find help is closer than they think -- by holding their husband's hand.

A study by a University of Virginia neuroscientist has found that happily married women under stress show signs of immediate relief when they hold their husband's hand, with this clearly seen on their brain scans.

Dr. James Coan, who led the limited study involving 16 couples in marriages judged to be strong, said he was surprised by the extent this gesture made on stress levels in women.

We've known for decade that being in a good, committed relationship makes wounds heal faster, makes you sick less often and even live longer," Coan told Reuters.

"But the main point of this study is that no one had been able to quantify the mental benefits of a close relationship in terms of improved health," he said.

Coan, whose study "Lending a Hand: Social Regulation of the Neural Response to Threat" is published in the December 2006 issue of the journal Psychological Science, subjected 16 married women to the threat of electric shock while either holding their husband's hand, the hand of an anonymous male, or no hand. More here

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Reading Shakespeare has Dramatic Effect on the Brain

Cool, another reason to strain your brain and not just to look smart carrying around a Complete Works of Shakespeare book(with the Sparknotes stowed away somewhere out of sight).
-Tasha Adams Rhodes Libertarian Girl Montana homeschool Tasha Rhodes
Research at the University of Liverpool has found that Shakespearean language excites positive brain activity, adding further drama to the bard's plays and poetry.
Shakespeare uses a linguistic technique known as functional shift that involves, for example using a noun to serve as a verb. Researchers found that this technique allows the brain to understand what a word means before it understands the function of the word within a sentence. This process causes a sudden peak in brain activity and forces the brain to work backwards in order to fully understand what Shakespeare is trying to say.

Professor Philip Davis, from the University's School of English, said: "The brain reacts to reading a phrase such as ‘he godded me' from the tragedy of Coriolanus, in a similar way to putting a jigsaw puzzle together. If it is easy to see which pieces slot together you become bored of the game, but if the pieces don't appear to fit, when we know they should, the brain becomes excited. By throwing odd words into seemingly normal sentences, Shakespeare surprises the brain and catches it off guard in a manner that produces a sudden burst of activity - a sense of drama created out of the simplest of things."

Experts believe that this heightened brain activity may be one of the reasons why Shakespeare's plays have such a dramatic impact on their readers.

Professor Neil Roberts, from the University's Magnetic Resonance and Image Analysis Research Centre, (MARIARC), explains: "The effect on the brain is a bit like a magic trick; we know what the trick means but not how it happened. Instead of being confused by this in a negative sense, the brain is positively excited. The brain signature is relatively uneventful when we understand the meaning of a word but when the word changes the grammar of the whole sentence, brain readings suddenly peak. The brain is then forced to retrace its thinking process in order to understand what it is supposed to make of this unusual word."

More here

Sunday, December 17, 2006

From Mercury to W Cephei

Video showing the scale of Earth to the other planets and stars. It all goes so well until about Neptune.
If you've ever felt small when you look out on the endless plains or rolling hills or looking out at the ocean;watching this will make you feel like an ant.

Ya-I know, everyone wants to see W Cephei-a little patience, it's at the end and ya it's really really big.

-Tasha Rhodes Tasha Adams Rhodes Libertarian Girl

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Most dangerous toys of all time

I love this article,especially the part about the Atomic Energy Lab
"kit came complete with three "very low-level" radioactive sources"

- Tasha Adams Rhodes Tasha Rhodes Libertarian Girl

Pray for Coal
The most dangerous toys of all time

Last month, Target recalled 10 of its Kool Toyz-brand play sets, citing hazards like "lead paint," "sharp points," and "puncture wound potential." The toys, which included plastic aircraft carriers, dinosaurs, and tanks, all appeared harmless enough. But according to the killjoys at the Consumer Product Safety Commission, children—at least those prone to eating plastic objects as big as their head—were at serious risk. A week later, Mattel recalled 4.4 million Polly Pocket dolls and accessories because kids were swallowing the toy's magnets. The Associated Press reported, "If more than one magnet is swallowed, they can attach to each other and cause intestinal perforation, infection or blockage." Three children required surgery.

In the last year alone, some eight million units of toys were recalled in the U.S., according to W.A.T.C.H., a toy-safety advocacy group. But Kool Toys and Polly Pockets are kids' stuff compared to the hazardous baubles of yesteryear. In the spirit of the holidays, Radar presents the most dangerous toys of all time, those treasured playthings that drew blood, chewed digits, took out eyes, and, in one case, actually irradiated. To keep things interesting, we excluded BB guns, slingshots, throwing stars, and anything else actually intended to inflict harm. Below, our toy box from hell.

1. Lawn Darts
Removable parts? Suffocation risk? Lead paint? Pussy hazards compared to the granddaddy of them all. Lawn Darts, or "Jarts," as they were marketed, would never fly in our current ultra-paranoid, safety-helmeted, Dr. Phil toy culture. Lawn darts were massive weighted spears. You threw them. They stuck where they landed. If they happened to land in your skull, well, then you should have moved. During their brief (and generally awesome) reign in 1980s suburbia, Jarts racked up 6,700 injuries and four deaths.

STOP TOSS MEASURES The lawn dart was put on the permanent no-fly list in 1988
The best part about Jarts was that they eliminated all speculation from true outdoor fun. (Is this dangerous? Hell yes, now chuck it!) And they were equal opportunity: All it took to play lawn darts was a sweaty grip. For good measure, it was also nice to have a small sibling around to stand on the other side of the house and tell you how your throw looked (and by how much you cleared the chimney).

The actual rules of lawn darts, as laid out by the manufacturer, were never important. No one is known to have used Jarts for their intended purpose. It shouldn't be surprising, then, that an accident involving a wayward spear and the semi-permeable head of a seven-year-old resulted in the toys' being banned from the market in 1988. Sadly, today's underage boys will never know the primal excitement of a summer's evening spent impaling friends before suppertime.

FISSION BUDDY Fallout shelter not included
2. Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab
Honey, why is your face glowing? In 1951, A.C. Gilbert introduced his U-238 Atomic Energy Lab, a radioactive learning set we can only assume was fun for the whole math club. Gilbert, who Americanmemorabilia claims was "often compared to Walt Disney for his creative genius," had a dream that nuclear power could capture the imaginations of children everywhere. For a mere $49.50, the kit came complete with three "very low-level" radioactive sources, a Geiger-Mueller radiation counter, a Wilson Cloud Chamber (to see paths of alpha particles), a Spinthariscope (to see "live" radioactive disintegration), four samples of Uranium-bearing ores, and an Electroscope to measure radioactivity. And what nuclear lab for kids would be complete without an Atomic Energy Manual and Learn How Dagwood Splits the Atom comic book? (The latter was written with the help of General Leslie Groves, director of the Manhattan Project.)

MUTUALLY ASSURED INSTRUCTION Junior Einsteins had everything they needed, except a hazmat suit
Kids do the darndest things, but not, apparently, nuclear physics. The toy was only sold for one year. It's unclear what effects the Uranium-bearing ores might have had on those few lucky children who received the set, but exposure to the same isotope—U-238—has been linked to Gulf War syndrome, cancer, leukemia, and lymphoma, among other serious ailments. Even more uncertain is the longterm impact of being raised by the kind of nerds who would give their kid an Atomic Energy Lab.

Read the rest here

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Man Regains Sight After 60 + Years


December 13, 2006

Monticello - Bells tolled last week for Dec. 7, 1941 — the date that lives in infamy. This story starts the day after.

Young patriots rushed to the nation's defense. Don Karkos tagged along after school as his older brother, Eddie, went to enlist at the Navy recruiting station in Lewiston, Maine. The boy hunched in the back of the room as Eddie answered questions and filled out paperwork. A recruiter barked out at Don, "Hey, kid, whatsa matter, you don't like the Navy?"

"Sir, I'm not old enough," Don told him. "I don't turn 17 until Friday."

"Good enough," snapped the recruiter.

Seaman Don Karkos shipped out of Boston and sailed into the North Atlantic. His was the USS Rapaden, a tanker whose mission was to skirt the German U-boats off the English coast and refuel Allied battleships. On a warm morning in the summer of '42, Karkos was on the Rapaden deck when there was a loud explosion. Twisted metal flew everywhere. Something heavy hit the boy above his right eye, cutting his forehead open.

When Karkos woke up, he was in a military hospital in Iceland. Doctors told him he would never see out of his right eye again. They wanted to remove the right eye. Karkos said, no, might as well leave it in, just for looks.

Karkos returned home to Lisbon Falls, Maine, a small mill town with a woolery. He worked in the mill's weave room for three years, not leaving until he paid off the mortgage on his father's house.

Karkos never regained sight in his right eye. It severely limited his peripheral vision. He'd bump into walls, never knowing what was coming 'round the corner. He had to be extra careful, because if anything happened to his good eye, he'd be completely blind. More here

I love stories like that. What an amazing experience that must have been. This story is close to my heart not only because my dad, who passed away last month, was a WWII vet; but also because my husband is also blind on one side. Unfortunately, though,my husband's eye was removed as it was just so badly damaged.

He lost it a shooting accident some fifteen years ago. The bullet went directly into his eye, stopped before it got to his brain, came back out of his eye socket and was resting just under the skin above his ear. So really miracle enough that he is here at all.

-Tasha Tasha Adams Rhodes Libertarian girl

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Edvard Munch's birthday

Anyone who has done a Google search today, and is not homeschooling and therefore does not have so many art cards laying around that they are using them as coasters may be wondering why Google has a
Van Gogh logo today, but ooohnoo (said in an annoying Alex Trebeck tone) it is an Edvard Munch logo; The Scream
But like Van Gogh, he was also a cheery guy,
"Sickness, insanity and death were the angels that surrounded my cradle and they have followed me throughout my life."
Remember; just as depressed but with two ears.

Fourteen Things That It Took Me Over 50 Years To Learn—by Dave Barry

Dave Barry rocks. I swiped this off the web somewhere, but lost where.

  1. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

  2. If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be "meetings."

  3. There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."

  4. People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.

  5. You should not confuse your career with your life.

  6. Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.

  7. Never lick a steak knife.

  8. The most destructive force in the universe is gossip.

  9. You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight savings time.

  10. You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests that you think she's pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment.

  11. There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday. That time is age eleven.

  12. The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above-average drivers.

  13. A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person. (This is very important. Pay attention. It never fails.)

  14. Your friends love you anyway.

Plain English Campaign's annual "Foot in Mouth" prize

Former England cricketer Geoffrey Boycott got two nominations while US President George W. Bush chipped in with one.

Boycott, now a commentator, mused that "the proof of the pudding is at the end of the day" and "I'll cross that chestnut when I come to it".

On the sticky problem of six-party talks on

North Korea, Bush -- whose idiosyncratic use of the English language has spawned the term "Bushism" -- said: "One has a strong hand when there's more people playing your same cards." More here

Naomi Campbell actually won the award with this statement "I love England, especially the food. There's nothing I like more than a lovely bowl of pasta,"

So our president can now take solace in the knowledge that his metaphors aren't as convoluted as those of a pill popping super model.

Discovery Channel; Night Owls Are More Creative

Dec. 11, 2006 — Not a morning person? Take solace — new research suggests that "night owls" are more likely to be creative thinkers.

Scientists can't yet fully explain why evening types appear to be more creative, but they suggest it could be an adaptation to living outside of the norm.

"Being in a situation which diverges from conventional habit — nocturnal types often experience this situation — may encourage the development of a non-conventional spirit and of the ability to find alternative and original solutions," lead author Marina Giampietro and colleague G.M. Cavallera wrote in a study to be published in the February 2007 issue of Personality and Individual Differences.

The researchers, who are both in the Department of Psychology at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, Italy, studied 120 men and women of varying ages.

A self-report questionnaire evaluated degrees of morning and evening dispositions. In fact, true morning and evening-oriented people are actually rare, since most of us fall somewhere in between.

Once the subjects were categorized into either morning, evening or intermediate types, they underwent three tests designed to measure creative thinking. More Here

No real surprise here. I'm not so sure genetics are responsible for as much of it as they think. I'd say there may be some genetic relationship to the tendency to stay up a little bit later or to get up a little earlier. But when it comes to staying up late and being more creative, I think that's just lifestyle. People that live their lives inside a set of appropriate lines of what they "should" do and seem fearful of going outside of those rules and are bitter and angry and look down on anyone who doesn't do the same; are probably going to go to bed early and get up early because they are suppose to.

It really is just another one of the benefits of homeschooling. I have one child who is just a night owl. He reads and thinks and paces, sometimes all night. Even as a toddler, he would sometimes draw all night. But since he is not in school-he is not sleep deprived and he has the opportunity to use the quiet time in the house to be creative. Of course, he is then in the dilemma of not wanting to miss out on daylight, so he puts a lot of effort into matching his schedule to ours by the time the weekend rolls around. This is a skill most people don't develop until college.

Of course, if you're reading this it's probably about 3A.M. -when I get the bulk of readers. Incidentally, Ben Franklin came up with the cute but very annoying, "Early to bed, early to rise. . ." thing but we all know he was like the all night, opened shirt, menage a' trois king even in France.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Biracial Kindergartener Used as Class "Prop" Told she was Adopted

MORGANTOWN -- The West Virginia Human Rights Commission is investigating charges that an elementary school teacher used a biracial kindergarten student as a prop to illustrate differences in skin color and ethnic backgrounds during a world cultures class.

Rhonda Bennett, a preschool teacher at Peterson Central Elementary School in Weston, is also accused of telling schoolmates that the child had been adopted -- a fact the family of the 5-year-old girl says she did not yet know.

Joseph Mace, superintendent of Lewis County schools, also has refused to return phone calls and e-mails from The Associated Press but acknowledged the incident to a local television station last week.

The Human Rights Commission supplied a copy of the family's complaint Wednesday after the AP filed a request under the state's Freedom of Information Act. More here

I love the public school system-I shall extol all the benefits of it later but for now; I'm recovering from a broken tail bone and sitting at the computer is not the most comfortable place to be.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Half Wolf Dog Digs Massive Tunnel and and Drags Owners Through it to Save Them

This story absolutely made my whole day.

Half-Breed Wolf Dog Hero Rescues Elderly Owners From Snowstorm

NEW YORK — When Eve and Norman Fertig rescued a sick, two-week-old half wolf, half German shepherd puppy from a breeder almost seven years ago, they'd never dreamed that the animal one day would save their lives.

"God is watching; he's watching all the time," Eve Fertig told FOXNews from her home at the Enchanted Forest Wildlife Sanctuary in Alden, N.Y.

He apparently was watching on Oct. 12, when the 81-year-old Fertigs were treating injured animals in the forest sanctuary on their property. One such animal is a near-18-year-old raven, while another is a crow who was shot, blind in one eye with two broken legs.

It was routine for the couple to feed and exercise the dozen or so animals there around 7 p.m. every night.

"While we're in there, the lights go out and I realized something's wrong," Eve Fertig said. "We go outside to see what's happening and down comes one massive tree … the trees came down across us."

The massive storm that hit upstate New York that night felled trees, blocking the Fertig's path to the other sanctuary buildings — such as the school and storage building — and to their home, which was at least 200 feet away.

We were in big trouble. … I said to my husband, 'I think we could die out here,'" Eve said.

'The Most Heroic Thing I've Ever Seen'

The Fertigs huddled in a narrow alley between the hospital building and the aviary, where they were sheltered from falling trees. They couldn't climb over the trees without injuring themselves. Neither had warm clothes on since it was a clear, crisp fall day just a few hours ago. They hugged each other for warmth, since by 9:30 p.m., temperatures had dropped.

"I wasn't prepared for this … I thought, 'we're trapped, we're absolutely trapped,'" Eve said. "That's when Shana began to dig beneath the fallen trees."

The 160-pound dog that habitually follows her owners around — Eve likens it to "Mary had a little lamb," when the lamb went everywhere Mary went — eventually found the Fertigs and began digging a path in the snow with her teeth and claws underneath the fallen trees, similar to a mineshaft, and barking as if to tell them to follow.

A reluctant Norm said, "I had enough in Okinawa in a foxhole," referring to his service in World War II.

"'Norman, if you do not follow me, I will get a divorce,'" Eve said to her husband of 62 years. "That did it. He said, 'a divorce? That would scandal our family.' I said, 'all of our family is dead, Norman!'"

After Shana tunneled all the way to the house — a process that took until about 11:30 p.m. — she came back, grabbed the sleeve of Eve's jacket, and threw the 86-pound woman over her back and neck, which Eve described as "as wide as our kitchen shelf."

Norman grabbed Eve's legs, and the dog pulled them through the tunnel, under the trees and through an opening in a fence to the house, at which they arrived around 2 a.m. Read the rest here

Monday, December 04, 2006

Boy, 4, attacks armed robber with toy sword

A four-year-old changed into his Power Ranger costume and attacked when his family were held up by an armed robber.

Stevie Long sneaked out of the room while a robber was pointing a gun at his five-year-old sister Mary and mum Jennifer.

Minutes later, he leapt back into the room dressed as a Mighty Morphin Power Ranger, reports the News and Observer.

"Get away from my family," he shouted, swinging his plastic sword and shouting "yah, yah."

More here

I just love this story except for the awful last line,
Stevie's aunt, Heather Evans, said a counsellor had suggested Stevie needs to improve his distinction between fantasy and reality: "He fully believed he morphed," she added.
A counselor, how awful, a four year old does something so wonderful and everyone thinks he needs mental help. No wonder we are becoming a society of wusses. And what four year old doesn't think he has magical powers!? That's why they run around with towels around their necks as a cape and swear they actually flew a little when they jumped off the chair. And it goes to show you what a little attitude can do. Okay, so this reminds me of a little story that, in our family, we can't tell without doubling over with laughter.

My husband, way back when, was a firearms instructor, in Las Vegas. He had a CCW(Concealed Carry Weapons Permit) and all that and carried a gun everywhere. Since we were at the range most of the day; everyday, there was plenty of time for practice. My husband, especially, practiced drawing from his holster and firing again and again.

One day we were out late and I don't remember why but for some reason he was not carrying that day. We were in a pretty bad neighborhood and as we were getting out of the car a man approached us and my husband told him to back away. He did not. You could tell by the body language and just the bad feeling in the air that no good was going to come from this.

My husband reached for where his holster usually was and automatically motioned as though he was drawing his gun.

Now, hubby's eyes are focussed on the guy approaching our car, but I'm looking at hubby and can see his hand is not drawing a gun but just his hand with his thumb up and his pointer finger out(like when kids play cops and robbers) hubby draws his imaginary gun and points his finger, with great authority, at the guy.The guy sees the ominous finger pointed, raises his hands in the air, backs away slowly, then runs off! We got in the car to take off and only then did hubby realize he was unarmed and with disbelief says "but he put his hands up!"


Saturday, December 02, 2006

Most Important Advice for New Homeschoolers Ever

Like most Saturdays, I am hiding from the news today. It is a beautiful day here in northwestern Montana. The snow is piled high and the sun is shining and the snowboard is calling. So my only post today is a single piece of advice for all homeschoolers and unschoolers. This is something that I read years ago in one of those Questions and Answers for Homeschoolers books and it has been the most relevant and needed advice I have ever received. This advice is not just for homeschoolers but also goes for all college students. Please be ready to receive this advice into your whole being so that it is not just intellectual knowledge but something that you live and follow. Here it is;

The library is only free if you turn the books in on time.


100 Most Damaging Wikileaks

I'm loving this list, and am very thankful to all the people who spent hours sorting and reading and sorting reading.  I copied the f...