Did they really need to study that?

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Of all the things I read on the Interwebs this morning, this headline was my favorite: “Money Matters To Happiness — Perhaps More Than Previously Thought.”

To which my only response was, I really need to get into academia so I too can study the glaringly obvious and be paid for it.

In fact, I’ve known the truth of that headline since somebody gave me a cartoon date book in my twenties that pointed out this very fact. …


Making complex subjects more accessible isn’t wrong however, the president-elect’s choice of language is misogynistic at best and ageist at worst

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Photo courtesy of Pexels.

This morning I read my New York Times email digest and found that the Times thinks one of Biden’s nicest qualities is his disdain for the use of jargon and academic language.

I can get behind that. But here’s how the Times presented that information:

“He relishes freewheeling discussion, interrupting aides and chiding them for what he deems overly academic or elitist language. ‘Pick up your phone, call your mother, read her what you just told me,’ he likes to say, according to aides. ‘If she understands, we can keep talking.’ Aides made a point of editing out all abbreviations other than U.N. and NATO.” (Jan. …


Remember me? Your cat? We need to talk.

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Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Hello, Food Bringer.

(Here’s where I tap your face a little harder with my declawed paw to wake you up. No, it’s not time for breakfast yet, unless you wanted to get up and get me a little something to nosh before breakfast. No, scratch that. I want you to focus on what I’m saying, which is why I need your full and undivided attention at 5:40 a.m. Also, “scratch that”? Yes, I am being ironic. I haven’t actually been able to scratch anything since you took me home as your “adorable little kitty witty snookums” and then decided that deforming all of my paws by having a vet remove my top knuckles would be the only way to save what I can only assume you called your “adorable little couchy wouchy.” Which, by the way, you have replaced twice in the ten years I have lived in your home. Glad my knuckles had to go to preserve such permanent fixtures in your life. But I digress. …


Whistleblowers reveal the truth, and they deserve to be protected

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Esek Hopkins. Public domain image courtesy of the New York Public Library.

War inevitably includes war crimes. The American Revolution, despite its rosy depiction as the war on which Americans fought on the side of right for their own independence, was no exception. When the Continental Navy was formed in 1775, its first commander would eventually lose the job in part because ten whistleblowers told the truth about his mistreatment of British prisoners of war.

Continental Navy Commander Esek Hopkins: Former Slave Ship Captain

Commodore Esek Hopkins was appointed first commander of the Continental Navy in late 1775. His wartime service would prove controversial, but Hopkins was a captain who was already well acquainted with controversy. During his early career, he was best known for his work on slave ships. In 1764, he was in charge of a mission on the Sally, a ship owned by Providence shipping firm Nicholas Brown and Company. …


In which we combine the best of the old world with the best of the new

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Image courtesy of Goodreads.

One of the things we have been doing in our homeschool experiment is setting aside time each day for me to read a book or longer story to both of my boys.

This is not earth-shattering pedagogical stuff, I realize. And we have always read to the boys (and also around them, as my spouse and I both love to read). But in days past when they were both in school, everyone was too exhausted by the time they came home (and after supper and piano practice and swim lessons and everything else) to sit down and listen to longer works of fiction. Mostly the books the boys asked us to read them were the same Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Press Start! …


The post-holiday sugar crash is hitting us hard

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Clover sprouts. Photo by the author.

To say we are at low ebb is to put a poetic spin on the fact that we — and I mean both my students AND me — are lazy.

We came back after the holiday break with a lot of screaming and an increasing amount of mouthiness from my elder boy, which is unattractive at best and infuriating at worst. On the bright side, I’m getting a lot of practice just breathing deeply and trying not to respond to either of my boys in anger.

So, yes, I think I continue to learn more from this accidental homeschooling than my boys are. …


You CAN make a difference. It’s good for your community, and it could also be very fulfilling for you.

People at a protest with a sign saying “Fight today for a better tomorrow”
People at a protest with a sign saying “Fight today for a better tomorrow”
Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels

Let’s be honest with one another: regardless of your political affiliation, it has been a frustrating past few years in America.

I felt that frustration back in 2018 (and before). So in 2019, I did something about it: I ran for local public office.

And here’s why you should too.

Why would an introvert who has no real political affiliations run for public office? I don’t know why others do, but I can tell you why I did.

I live in a Midwestern state, in a small suburban city, population 22,000 or so, that is sandwiched between a much larger city and our surrounding rural areas. I’ve lived in all three of those environments: I grew up on a dairy farm, fifteen minutes outside of the city where I live now; I went to college and lived in the larger city for most of my twenties; now my spouse and I live and raise our kids in the suburban city between the two. …


How did teachers ever control these kids before the holidays?

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Photo by Magda Ehlers from Pexels

I’ve always kind of known and joked about the fact that it must be nearly impossible to educate children during the entire month of December. They’re busy thinking about their large and ever-shifting holiday wish lists, they’re constantly hopped up on sugar, and they just generally are in the mood for anything but math.

Which is unfortunate, because I think we’re behind in math.

The first-grader’s math is coming right along; let’s hear it for addition and subtraction from 0–20 and different shapes — that’s math I understand. The fourth-grader’s math, though? I’m a bit at a loss as to where to start. …


If at first you don’t succeed…

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Photo by the author.

Try, try again.

I have never been a houseplant person. The last time I had a plant by choice, it was a tiny little plant in a tiny little pot that I had when I was in college and lived in a dorm. I don’t remember ever once drinking water when I was a college student (making my current pretty-good health an even bigger miracle), so I watered the plant with what I had on hand, and what I drank: Mountain Dew.

The plant did not thrive on Mountain Dew. Or, I should say, it thrived for a week, and then it promptly keeled over and died. …


There have been some complications, the nurse said.

When you’re just sitting quietly, waiting for your husband’s medical procedure to be done, this is not the sentence you want to hear. I know this intellectually, because I had read about the risks of the procedure currently being done on Paul, and I know this empirically, because once when I had woken up in a recovery room, in pain, a nurse had told me the same thing. There were some complications.

Complications. It’s the “collateral damage” euphemism of the medical world. It can mean anything. It can mean nothing. It can mean somebody did something wrong. It can mean somebody just had some bad luck. It can mean a little bit of both, or a lot. Mainly you don’t want to hear the word, and you don’t want to hear anything that comes after it, but you almost always kind of have to. …

About

Sarah Cords

Analog girl lost in the digital world. Author of “Bingeworthy British Television.” Fellow curmudgeons welcome at citizenreader.com.

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