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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Just a Bite 9-1-09

Quote to ponder under the apple tree

I like a teacher who gives you something to
take home to think about besides homework.
~ Lily Tomlin (born September 1, 1939)

Resources to bite into

1. Laughin’ with Lily

It’s hard to believe that Lily Tomlin turns 70 today. Many of us were first introduced to her on the TV series “Laugh-in,” where she appeared as Ernestine the telephone operator, (“One ringy-dingy, two ringy-dingies”) Edith Ann, the bratty 5-year old child in an oversize rocker, and other characters. Her career encompasses movies, television and the one-woman, multi-character Broadway show, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, for which she won a Tony Award. You can find much more of her wit and wisdom at http://www.brainyquote.com/.

2. School Daze

School has already begun for most children in the U.S. so it seemed appropriate to feature some of their bloopers – reasons to keep them in school a bit longer – in the current Brain Aerobics Weekly. These come from Richard Lederer’s The Bride of Anguished English:
• Sir Francis Drake circumcised the world with a 100-foor clipper.
• In Venice the people travel around the canals on gorgonzolas.
• Cleopatra died when an ass bit her.
• One of the wives of Henry VIII was named Ann of Cleavage.
To order The Bride of Anguished English, click here.

3. Exercising the Whole Brain

The current Brain Aerobics Weekly also features a word quiz partially inspired by Marge Engelman’s Whole Brain Workouts. For example, name the common ending to the following words:
1. sav gar voy man 2. sen deb rot pir
Marge has long been a friend, and I have long been a fan of her work, which features a broad range of exercises. To order Whole Brain Workouts, call the Attainment Company at 800-327-4269 or go to www.attainmentcompany.com. (Answers: age and ate)

Tips/ideas/insights to savor

We seem to have lost the ability for reasonable discourse in this country. I am not ready to take on the volatile subject of U.S. healthcare policies, but I think it is time to practice respectful analysis of issues, so the topic I’ve chosen as children return to school is “How much freedom do children need?” Find a few people and start a discussion.

If you are more than 30 years old, chances are you were exposed to what would now be considered enormous dangers in your childhood. As noted in a recent widely disseminated email:
• We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we wore no helmets.
• As infants and children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts and no air bags. Riding in the back of a pick-up truck on a warm day was a special treat.
• We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and no one died.
• We played outside all day all summer and after school all year, unreachable by cell phones and we were mostly fine. Occasionally we fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

Lenore Skenazy found herself at the center of a media storm a year ago when she allowed her well-briefed, well-supplied 9-year old son to ride a subway home alone. As a result, she wrote a book: Free-Range Kids: Giving Our Kids the Freedom We Enjoyed without Going Nuts with Worry, and created both a website and a blog (http://freerangekids.wordpress.com/). So what do you think?
• How much freedom and independence did you have?
• Why are children today given less?
• What’s the right balance between safety and confidence-building experience?

Let the ever-ripening Wiser Now website become the apple of your eye.
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