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April 24, 2009

Some Words of Wisdom and Inspiration

In this troubled time, it's wonderful when the words of our elders light a way to a brighter path. That's what the poet Maya Angelou has done in an interview with Oprah on her 70+ birthday. Oprah asked her what she thought of growing older.

And, her reply was that it was 'exciting.'

Regarding body changes, she said there were many, occurring every her breasts. They seem to be in a race to see which will reach her waist, first.

But she also said this: 'I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.'

'I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.'

'I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life.'

'I've learned that making a 'living' is not the same thing as 'making a life.'

'I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.'

'I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back..'

'I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.'

'I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.'

'I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.'

'I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.'

'I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.'

Have a wonderful weekend.

April 06, 2009

Working with Words

Robert Oliphant, a lexicographer, is interested in using the current economic downturn as a means of encouraging high school freshmen to increase their word knowledge and ultimately have an edge when seeking a job. (A lexicographer, by the way, is one who analyzes the components underlying the words--the lexicon--of our language).

Encouraging students to use electronic dictionaries, he urges them to become conversant with the "high tech workplace American English vocabulary system. For example, using the field of anatomy, he offers 375 terms ranging from 15 letter words such as cerebrovascular and parasympathic down to

4 letter words such as ruga and uvea.

Given that anatomy is just one of the many possible fields of study, any effort in this direction might strike you as overwhelming. However, if you want to make this the basis of a family word play game that takes place on a fairly regular basis, then the results can be outstanding. In the current high tech world where images, rather than words, dominate, regular forays into amazing but relatively unfamiliar vocabulary can have a dramatic impact.

If you would like to learn more, go

April 03, 2009

Want to See Something Spectacular?

President Obama recently got into a tight spot when he referred to his poor performance in bowling as making him eligible for the Special Olympics. Now from China comes a spectacular event that shows just how accomplished Special Olympics can be.

If you go to you will see an awesome dance, called the Thousand-Hand Guan Yin. Considering the tight coordination required, their accomplishment is nothing short of amazing. But it is even more amazing when you realize that all 21 performers are deaf. Relying only on signals from trainers at the four corners of the stage, these extraordinary dancers from Chinese Disabled People's Performing Art Troupe deliver a visual spectacle that is at once intricate and stirring.

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