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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Just a Bite July 28th, 2009

Quote to ponder under the apple tree

Cherish all your happy moments: they make a fine cushion for old age. ~ Booth Tarkington (born July 29, 1869)

Resources to bite into

1. Midwestern values *

Newton Booth Tarkington was an American novelist best known for his two Pulitzer Prize-winning novels, The Magnificent Ambersons (1918) and Alice Adams (1922). He isn’t read much anymore, so it seems worth highlighting his still valid goal. Although born in Indiana, he lived for many years in the east where people tended to think themselves superior to people living elsewhere. “ . . . I tried to make my novel answer all this nonsense. A thing the novel tried to say was that in the matter of human character, the people of such an out-of-the-way midland village were as estimable as any others anywhere. . . . [That] was my emotional tribute to the land of my birth.” Now we think more globally, but don’t we still need to fight the tendency to doubt the character of those who aren’t quite like us?

2. Confusing English *

The word quiz in the current Brain Aerobics Weekly features heteronyms, words that are spelled identically but have different meanings when pronounced differently, such as “wound” (meaning injury) and “wound” (meaning what you did to start the clock). Although you might think these are fairly rare, in reality they are hundreds of common English words with alternate pronunciations, and “alternate” is one of them. It’s part of what makes English confusing for non-native speakers – and, of course, the British, Australians and other English-speaking countries have their own pronunciations. The quiz mentioned above uses only words beginning with “C”. Try putting the following words in sentences using their differing pronunciations and meanings:
buffet dove excuse incense moderate object perfect rebel
For more ideas, go to: http://jonv.flystrip.com/heteronym/heteronym.htm

3. A thought provoking question from If . . . (Questions for the Game of Life) *

If you could dine alone with anyone from any person in history, who would you choose and why? To order If . . . by Evelyn McFarlane and James Saywell, HUclick hereUH.

* These items are easily adapted when working with people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Tips/ideas/insights to savor *

The trivia quiz in the current UBrain Aerobics WeeklyU asks you to determine which of three prices was what an item cost in 1950. This variation on The Price Is Right can make a good party game, contest or team-building exercise. You can also vary it by:
• changing the decade (1940s, 1970s, etc.),
• looking up the cost of just a few different items in different decades or
• turning it into a reminiscence exercise by perusing a book like Everyday Fashions of the Fifties as Pictured in Sears Catalogs (To order, click here.) A variation of this book is also available for most of the decades of the 1900s.
Here are a few prices that didn’t make it into this week’s Brain Aerobics Weekly quiz:

1. A child’s 8-piece Roy Rogers cowboy outfit (complete with toy gun and lariat) a. $4.88___ b. $6.49 ___ c. $7.88 ___

2. A gallon of exterior house paint
a. $1.29 ___ b. 2.29 ___ c. $3.29 ___

3. A pound of lamb chops
a. 35 cents ___ b. 49 cents ___ c. 65 cents ___

4. A pound of sliced bacon
a. 35 cents ___ b. 49 cents ___ c. 65 cents ___

5. 5 pounds of onions
a. 15 cents ___ b. 25 cents ___ c. 39 cents ____

Source: http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/1950s.html
Answers: 1. a; 2. c; 3. b; 4. a; 5. a

Let the ever-ripening Wiser Now website become the apple of your eye.
-- Host a workshop, purchase materials or click on the blue print to sign up for Brain Aerobics Weekly and Wiser Now Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiver Tips.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Just a Bite July 21st, 2009

Quote to ponder under the apple tree

Shoot for the moon and if you miss you will still be among the stars.
~ Les Brown (motivational speaker)

Resources to bite into

1. Moonstruck *

This week is the 40th anniversary of man’s first landing on the moon (July 20, 1969) so the current Brain Aerobics Weekly features a trivia quiz about moon facts and flights to the moon. Here are two more tidbits:
• Flying once around the moon is the equivalent of a round trip from New York to London. (Earth is about four times the size of the moon.)
• When walking on the moon, astronaut Alan Sheppard hit a golf ball that went 2,400 feet, nearly one-half a mile – definitely a record Tiger Woods is not likely to beat working within Earth’s gravity.

2. Swimming, swimming, when days are hot, when days are cold . . .*

Under the theme of swimming, the current Brain Aerobics Weekly links several events. This week marks the opening of the first U.S. public swimming school in Boston. Two weeks ago was Nude Recreation Week, and while we suspect few of our readers celebrated it in a public fashion, one early adopter was the sixth U.S. President, John Quincy Adams (who was born July 11, 1767). He reportedly arose before dawn each morning – 4:15 a.m. in the summer – for a nude swim in the Potomac, including during the years of his presidency, when the river was a relatively short walk from the White House. Once a tramp stole his clothes (left on the river bank) and once a female reporter supposedly sat on them so that he couldn’t leave the river until he granted her an interview. How’s that for using your noggin’?
(Source: http://www.harvardsquarelibrary.org/poets/adams_jquincy.php)

3. Today is Toss Away the “Could Haves” and “Should Haves” Day *

Put your regrets in the trash – where they belong. Then make a list of your strengths and best qualities and pat yourself on the back.

* These items are easily adapted when working with people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Tips/ideas/insights to savor *

The current Brain Aerobics Weekly features a quiz in honor of Tell an Old Joke Day (July 24) in which you are asked to match punch lines to bar joke set-ups (some of the oldest jokes around). This is also a great party game, ice-breaker and way to choose new partners in a training activity. Here are some samples from this week’s quiz:

Walking into the bar – Match the right punch line

a. "A beer please, and one for the road."
b. Next thing you know, the sheriff arrives and arrests him for rustling.
c. “Sorry, we don't serve food in here."
d. "Well, it was my first day with my hook."
e. "You can come in here, but you better not start anything!"
f. "You'll be driving later."

1. A cheeseburger walks into a bar, and the bartender says: ___

2. A pair of battery jumper cables walk into a bar. The bartender says: ___

3. A golf club walks into a bar and asks the barman for a pint of beer. The barman refuses to serve him. "Why not?" asks the golf club. The bartender says: ___

4. A guy walks into a bar with a slab of asphalt under his arm and says: ___

5. A pirate with a wooden leg, a hook and an eye patch enters a bar. In conversation, the bartender soon learns the man lost his leg to a shark and his hand in a sword fight. He asks about his eye patch and the pirate says, "A seagull dropping fell into my eye." The bartender is incredulous: “You lost your eye to a seagull dropping?" The pirate says: ___

6. A cowboy walks into a bar for a drink. His hat is made of brown wrapping paper. And so are his shirt, vest, chaps, pants, boots and spurs. ___

Let the ever-ripening Wiser Now website become the apple of your eye.
-- Host a workshop, purchase materials or click on the blue print to sign up for Brain Aerobics Weekly. and Wiser Now Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiver Tips.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Just a Bite 7-14-09

Quote to ponder under the apple tree

Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.
~ Edgar Degas (born July 19, 1834)

Resources to bite into

1. Looking at life from other angles *

This week we celebrate the 175th anniversary of the birth of Edgar Degas. He was a contentious fellow who didn’t like being associated with Impressionism (a term he despised) and indeed was different from them because his fellow artists were interested in the effects of natural outdoor light, while Degas seemed most interested in the artificial light in theatres and opera houses – and the contrast between lightness and darkness. He also took great advantage of the unusual angles from which he could view the stage – the wings, balconies, orchestra pit – whereas his contemporaries tended to view life straight on. Think about the opening quote. Does it apply to all art mediums? From what angle do you view life?

2. Eponyms *

The current Brain Aerobics Weekly has a word quiz about eponyms – common words that derive from people’s names. Some are obvious, such as when we call a very bright kid an Einstein after the genius Albert Einstein. In other cases, the originator has been long forgotten. For example, according to Lyle Larson, Etienne de Silhouette served as finance minister under Louis XIV. During only four months in office he levied such heavy marriage, income, and sales taxes that people had to get by with the barest essentials--hence the silhouette, a portrait reduced to its barest essentials. You can find many more examples at http://homepage.smc.edu/larsen_lyle/eponyms.htm.

3. A reason to celebrate Christmas in July *

Tomorrow would be the 230th birthday of Clement Moore, (born July 15, 1779) the author of “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” commonly known as “’Twas the Night before Christmas.”

* These items are easily adapted when working with people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Tips/ideas/insights to savor *

The current UBrain Aerobics WeeklyU features an article on learning how to be a ventriloquist, inspired by the Vent Haven Ventriloquist Convention in Fort Mitchell, KY, this week (July 15 – 18). While great ventriloquists spend years perfecting their skills and coming up with unique voices for their puppets or dummies, learning the basics is a terrific exercise for your brain, so try it:

The goal is to speak without putting your lips together, and the trick is to substitute other letters for these six:

Here are the basic sounds to substitute:
• For B use the letter D. (Say “doy” instead of “boy.”)
• For F use TH. (Instead of saying “That's fun to do,” say “That's THun to do.”)
• For M use N. (Instead of saying “My dog is black,” say “Ny dog is dlack.”)
• For P use T. (Instead of “Will you play with me?” say “Will you Tlay with Ne?”)
• For V again use TH. (Instead of “Victory is mine," say “Thictory is Nine.”)
• W is only a problem when actually pronouncing the letter (double U). Again substitute the letter D. In other words, if you are talking about former President Bush, you would say, “George DudleYou Dush.”

It may seem bizarre to say “doy” for “boy,” but the audience automatically substitutes the right word, because a) we’re staring at a dummy putting its lips together, clearly making a “b” sound and b) the human brain ignores what doesn’t make sense and substitutes what does. Ventriloquists also often distract us with humor.

Have a conversation with a friend while you both try talking without moving your lips using the substitutions above. Brains thrive on new skills!

Source: http://www.backstagepassparties.com/burghers/ventriloquist_tips.html

Let the ever-ripening Wiser Now website become the apple of your eye.
-- Host a workshop, purchase materials or click on the blue print to sign up for Brain Aerobics Weekly. and Wiser Now Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiver Tips.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Just a Bite July 7th, 2009

Quote to ponder under the apple tree

I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.
~ E. B. White (born July 11, 1899)

Resources to bite into

1. Finding the balance between saving and savoring *

E. B. White, who would have been 110 this week, is one of my favorite writers, not least because I share his tension over the difficulty of being good (responsible) while also appreciating earth’s goodness (relaxing and enjoying). He wrote wonderful children’s books (Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little and Trumpet of the Swan), one basic writer’s guide (Elements of Style with William Strunk) and hundreds of essays for the New Yorker magazine with good humor, grace, and uncommon insight into our daily lives. I encourage you to look up his writings in such books as:
• Writings from the New Yorker 1927- 1976. (To order, click here.)
• Essays of E.B. White. (To order, click here.)

2. Odd jobs *

The current Brain Aerobics Weekly has a quiz in which we ask if you can identify the early jobs of people who are now rich and famous. In some cases, they were obviously ill-suited for their early work. Here are some facts that didn’t make it into the quiz:
• Howie Mandel was fired from his job as an amusement park ride operator in Toronto for making jokes to riders about the ride's safety.
• Barry Manilow was fired from a job at a brewery, when he reportedly left the truck door open and spilled the beer all over the road.
• Sidney Poitier was reportedly fired from his job parking cars because of his poor driving skills.
Source: http://www.hardlyfamous.com/stars/.

3. Today is the beginning of Japan’s Star Festival *

Although it is celebrated in August and later in some places, Tanabata begins today in at least some places. Among other traditions, it is a day to make a wish expressing your

hopes and dreams for your future, the future of your family and friends, and the future of the world. Write those wishes on a strip of paper (decorated or not) and hang it on a tree – or freshly cut bamboo, if it’s available. Then go out and star gaze – It’s good for the savoring part of your life.

* These items are easily adapted when working with people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Tips/ideas/insights to savor *

The word quiz in the current Brain Aerobics Weekly was inspired by the book Word Fugitives by Barbara Wallraff, which describes words that don’t exist in the English language but should. For example, have you ever gone through your dirty clothes hamper to find something clean enough to wear? Shouldn’t there be a word for that? Made-up words are called neologisms and Ms. Wallraff’s book describes others’ efforts to come up with them. Among the choices for dirty hamper searching were: skivvy-dipping, snifting and dry gleaning, all of which amuse me – clever and accurate!

That creative thinking process is a good way to get groups working together and coming up with out-of-the-box suggestions. Here are a few words people suggested were needed that Ms. Wallraff did not have neologisms for. Can you come up with your own, either on your own or within a group?
• What would you call what a dog does as it turns round and round before lying down?
• What’s the male parallel to women’s gossiping when they endlessly debate the merits of different cameras, televisions or barbecue grills?
• What’s a word for hoping to get someone’s voice mail but reaching the real person instead?
• What do you call a catchy melody (like “It’s a Small World After All”) that keeps replaying in your head against your will?

What else do you need a word for?

To order Word Fugitives, click here.

Let the ever-ripening Wiser Now website become the apple of your eye.
-- Host a workshop, purchase materials or click on the blue print to sign up for Brain Aerobics Weekly. and Wiser Now Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiver Tips.