Monthly Archives: January 2012

Kangaroos

Kangaroo and joey

Kangaroo and joey

More fun with words today.  Do you know the term kangaroo words?  A kangaroo word carries within its spelling (in normal order) a small word that is a perfect synonym for itself.   The etymology of the phrase kangaroo word is derived from the fact that kangaroos carry their young (known as joeys) in a body pouch; hence kangaroo words carry their joey words within themselves.

An example of this is Blossoms – note that it contains in the right order the synonym Blooms or Respite and Rest.

Here are some others to have fun with:

  1. Evacuate
  2. Encourage
  3. Prosecute
  4. Calumnies
  5. Indolent
  6. Diversified
  7. Rampage
  8. Matches
  9. Joviality
  10. Container.

and the answers -

  1. vacate
  2. urge
  3. sue
  4. lies
  5. idle
  6. divers
  7. rage
  8. mates
  9. joy
  10. can

And if that is not enough, what can you do with -

  1. rapscallion
  2. prattle
  3. perambulate
  4. pinioned
  5. regulates
  6. splotches
  7. slithered
  8. perimeter
  9. curtail
  10. respite.Clapping hands

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.  I am going away for a few days vacation now that the big red Santa boot is off, so I shall not be posting on my blog for a week.  But watch this space – I shall have plenty to share with you when I return.

Oh and I have just had a recollection – Captain Kangaroo when my children were growing up in Montreal.  Whatever happened to him?

Very Seductive

If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?
Albert Einstein

Research is seductive.  We know that little can be written without some research and so I love the internet.  It gives me access to all kinds of information at my fingertips and I no longer have to spend hours in a library doing the research.  But it is truly seductive.  I often find myself following one lead after another and then some time later find I haven’t actually written anything.

In this way I find that research can take all day and fill my head with all kinds of facts but nothing has been written.  The screen is still blank as it was when I sat down to write.

And we can never say “I have touched every base and now am ready to write.” We know that it is not possible to have touched every base.  So we do have to set some limits on ourselves.

Now when I sit down at the computer and the idea that I am formulating for an article or a blog needs some research I do set a limit for researching.  I also ask myself the questions:

  • How long do I have to produce the item/article
  • How much time will be spent in research and
    what can I expect to achieve in that time
  • How much time will it take to write?

At the end of the time allotted to research I tell myself that I now have enough information to write my article or blog and just accept that I do.

But perhaps at a later date, I will return to the research if this is a subject about which I care deeply.  Perhaps I will never really stop researching and studying it, but for now I will have enough information and shall just write.

The other alternative is to make the mistake of doing no research and just accepting what has been told one as truth.  We know that this is the way in which bogus facts get promulgated either to our friends and family or through the medium of the internet or other social network sites.  I have made this mistake quite recently in my blog ‘Stupidity Reigns’ and shall not do so a second time.

So I shall continue to carry out research on each subject I choose to write about and hopefully, control the time used in this way.  And then (again) hopefully, I will produce some articles/blogs worth reading.

Jigsaw missing one piece

Dreamstime.com Free Images

All Gone!

Yes it’s true.  The big red Santa boot has gone, removed, put into the trash can and now can be forgotten.

So what else is on my mind today?

Twenty tattooed Maori heads are about to be repatriated from France.  At a  ceremony on Monday at Quai Branly museum in Paris, presided over by the French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand and New Zealand’s ambassador,  the heads encased in a box, were handed over.

Maori Warriors

Photo copyright EPA

In the 18th and 19th centuries Maori heads with intricate facial tattoos or moko, were often kept as trophies from tribal warfare. But with the coming of the white man, it became fashionable for  to collect these heads  by private individuals and men were in danger of being killed simply for their tattoos.

These heads are revered as ancestral remains by Maori, who hold it an insult that they should be on display in overseas museums.   Those from the museum in France have not been on display.  We are told that over the years French museums, anthropological researchers and private collectors have preserved and simply stored the heads.

Since 2003 the NZ government has been attempting (and succeeding in some degree) repatriation of these body parts.  And while more than 180 heads and skeletal remains have been repatriated to New Zealand since that time,  about 400 are estimated to remain in the UK alone.

The heads will be brought to Te Papa our National Museum and then will be distributed to the tribes to whom they belong. Some are readily identifiable but others are not, and Maori tribes are unwilling to accept body parts of anyone other than their own.  Because of this, Te Papa have some 500 unidentified body parts in storage.

As a Pakeha (non Maori New Zealander) I applaud the government’s actions  in repatriating these artifacts.

Now That’s Interesting

Never say, “oops.”
Always say, “Ah, interesting.”
Author Unknown

A couple of days ago I posted on stupidity and fallacious frivolous claims  before the courts and the amount of damages awarded to those who sued.

Today I have been told by a fellow blogger – Linda Cassidy Lewis – that in fact these are bogus cases.  Click this link  to see these and other bogus cases.

So I apologise.  As with many others I assumed (made an ass of you and me) that these were true without taking the trouble to research them.  Lazy writing and lazy blogging.  I am surprised now that I didn’t research them to determine whether or not they were true.  If you are a regular reader you will know that I usually go to great lengths in researching whatever my mind happens to decide is a suitable subject for my blog.

I unreservedly apologise to you all for misleading you in this way.  But it was fun reading wasn’t it?

Oh and by the way, I have cancelled my plane ticket to the US.  Won’t be buying that Winnebago after all.

crying face

Dreamstime.com Free images

A Family is a River

Some years ago, during the bleak months/years following the death of my dashing (now not so) young Scotsman, my daughter on behalf of her baby son, gave me a little book entitled 365 Reflections on Grandmothers.  This was meant to and succeeded in cheering me.

Today, when flicking through the book I came upon this quote:

“A family is a river;
some of it has passed on and
more is to come and nothing is still,
because we all move along day by day
toward our destination”.  Dolores Garcia

I don’t know who Dolores Garcia is – I Googled her name and came up with several – but whoever she is has succinctly put the family into words.

It is the kind of poetry that I would like to write.  In fact, I wish I had written it.

We know that family members move on – Mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, husbands, wives, children all come into our family and make themselves part of it and are sorely missed when they move on.

In their place come more people to swell the numbers of the family.  Children marry and produce children of their own, who in turn marry and also produce children.

More people become part of our now extended family.  Through marriages we acquire other relations, children, their siblings and families.

So nothing stays the same – nothing is still. Nor should we expect it to stay the same.  Change is inevitable as we move through our allotted time on earth.

If like me, you have these strong family ties they will keep you tethered and sane when all seems to be out of control.  Whether you see them on a regular basis, or only infrequently, you know that you can count on family members for support and succour comfort when needed.

Here is my attempt :

“Life like a river flows around us
and changes occur in the family formation;
Those we love move on and
in doing so leave huge gaps in the familiar structure.
Soon though, others come into the tight family unit;
Not to replace those who have moved on
but to bolster and fill the gaps and then
to take their own place in this entity we call family.”

Waterfall


Stupidity Reigns!

“We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.”   Benjamin Franklin

Hot on the heels of  my posts on Political Correctness and Common Sense came this via email from a friend.

We have obviously allowed stupidity to take over the world considering some of the frivolous actions taken and their results in the courts in the United States.

It’s time again for the annual ‘Stella Awards‘! For those unfamiliar with these awards, they are named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued the McDonald’s in New Mexico, where she purchased coffee. You remember, she took the lid off the coffee and put it between her knees while she was driving. Who would ever think one could get burned doing that, right? That’s right; these are awards for the most outlandish lawsuits and verdicts in the U.S. You know, the kinds of cases that make you scratch your head. So keep your head scratcher handy.

Here are the Stellas for year  —  2011:

*SEVENTH PLACE*
Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas was awarded $80,000 by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was running inside a furniture store. The store owners were understandably surprised by the verdict, considering the running toddler was her own son.

Start scratching!

* SIXTH PLACE *
Carl Truman, 19, of Los Angeles , California won $74,000 plus medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Truman apparently didn’t notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal his neighbor’s hubcaps.

Scratch some more…

* FIFTH PLACE *
Terrence Dickson, of Bristol , Pennsylvania , who was leaving a house he had just burglarized by way of the garage. Unfortunately for Dickson, the automatic garage door opener malfunctioned and he could not get the garage door to open. Worse, he couldn’t re-enter the house because the door connecting the garage to the house locked when Dickson pulled it shut. Forced to sit for eight, count ‘em, EIGHT days and survive on a case of Pepsi and a large bag of dry dog food, he sued the homeowner’s insurance company claiming undue mental Anguish. Amazingly, the jury said the insurance company must pay Dickson $500,000 for his anguish. We should all have this kind of anguish Keep scratching. There are more…

Double hand scratching after this one..

*FOURTH PLACE*
Jerry Williams, of Little Rock, Arkansas, garnered 4th Place in the Stella’s when he was awarded $14,500 plus medical expenses after being bitten on the butt by his next door neighbor’s beagle – even though the beagle was on a chain in its owner’s fenced yard. Williams did not get as much as he asked for because the jury believed the beagle might have been provoked at the time of the butt bite because Williams had climbed over the fence into the yard and repeatedly shot the dog with a pellet gun.

Pick a new spot to scratch, you’re getting a bald spot..

* THIRD PLACE *
Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania because a jury ordered a Philadelphia restaurant to pay her $113,500 after she slipped on a spilled soft drink and broke her tailbone. The reason the soft drink was on the floor: Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument. What ever happened to people being responsible for their own actions?

Only two more so ease up on the scratching…

*SECOND PLACE*
Kara Walton, of Claymont , Delaware sued the owner of a night club in a nearby city because she fell from the bathroom window to the floor, knocking out her two front teeth. Even though Ms. Walton was trying to sneak through the ladies room window to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge, the jury said the night club had to pay her $12,000….oh, yeah, plus dental expenses. Go figure.

Ok. Here we go!!

Clapping hands

* FIRST PLACE *
This year’s runaway First Place Stella Award winner was: Mrs. Merv Grazinski, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who purchased new 32-foot Winnebago motor home. On her first trip home, from an OU football game, having driven on to the freeway, she set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver’s seat to go to the back of the Winnebago to make herself a sandwich. Not surprisingly, the motor home left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Also not surprisingly, Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not putting in the owner’s manual that she couldn’t actually leave the driver’s seat while the cruise control was set. The Oklahoma jury awarded her, are you sitting down?  $1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home. Winnebago actually changed their manuals as a result of this suit, just in case Mrs. Grazinski has any relatives who might also buy a motor home.

Winnebago

Sorry folks.  I won’t be around for a few days.  Just off to pick up my ticket to the US to buy a Winnebago.

Against stupidity the very gods themselves contend in vain.   Friedrich Schiller

Recognising a Sad Passing

Following my recent rant post about Political Correctness I thought I would post this obituary notice that I received this morning.  It has been roaming around the internet for some time, and I have received it at other times, but it really is in the same vein as my earlier post and seems to follow it naturally.

‘Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

  •   Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
  •   Why the early bird gets the worm;
  •    Life isn’t always fair; and
  •    Maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place.

  • Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate;
  • Teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch
  • and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student,

only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an Elastoplast to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband; churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason. He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, I Want It Now, Someone Else Is To Blame, and I’m A Victim.

Not many attended his funeral because so few realised he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.’

You know what I encourage you to do.  And here is that rainbow again to cheer you along in the face of all that has changed with the passing of Mr Common Sense.

Rainbow

My rainbow