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Lessons from Noah’s Ark


picture of Noah's ark

Most of you know that my wife and I recently visited the Creation Museum during our vacation. Quite a few people commented that they also found the museum to be a great blessing. I have never had any difficulty believing the Biblical account of the flood or of Noah's ark, and so I didn't need to be convinced of anything. But it was great to see the wonderful explanations of how the whole account could very well have taken place and the overwhelming evidence in the fossil record that is explainable only by a cataclysmic event like the world-wide flood - and so, why not the biblical world-wide flood?!

Here's a list of valuable lessons that can be learned from Noah's experience....

Lessons From Noah's Ark

Plan ahead - it wasn't raining when Noah built the ark.

Stay fit - when you're 600 years old, you might be asked to do something REALLY big.

Don't listen to critics - just do what has to be done.

Build on high ground.

For safety's sake, travel in pairs.

Speed isn't always an advantage. The cheetahs were on board, but so were the snails.

If you can't fight or flee - float!

Take care of your animals as if they were the last ones on earth.

Don't forget that we're all in the same boat.

When the doo-doo gets really deep, don't sit there and complain - shovel!

Stay below deck during the storm.

Remember that the ark was built by amateurs and the Titanic was built by professionals.

If you have to start over, have a friend by your side.

Remember that the woodpeckers inside are often a bigger threat than the storm outside.

Don't miss the boat.

No matter how bleak it looks, when you're one with God, there's always a rainbow waiting for you.

When God shuts the door on this world for the last time, be sure you are on the right side of that door.

Noah before God closed the door

Noah before God closed the door of the ark

quotation...

"I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture." - Jesus, in John 10:9

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Adam's Rib: the original bone of contention.


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Do You Remember Burma-Shave Ads?


We recently had a trip down memory lane as we drove along a rural road in our native Ohio and saw a dilipidated barn with the vestiges of an old chewing tobacco ad on one side. It made me think of another slice of Americana from my lifetime - the old Burma-Shave ads on country roads in my childhood.

picture of Burma Shave

Many Americans living today know little about Burma-Shave. But mention it to anyone who lived in America from the 1920s into the early sixties, and you will evoke a lot of memories. Burma-Shave was one of the world's first brushless shaving cream manufacturers, and they spawned heavy competition with their product. Burma-Shave signs were the precursor to modern billboard signs and an interesting diversion on long drives. Before the Interstates, when everyone drove the old 2 lane roads, Burma-Shave signs would be posted all over the countryside in farmers' fields. They were small red signs with white letters - five signs, about 100 feet apart, each containing 1 line of a 4 line couplet ... and the obligatory 5th sign advertising Burma-Shave. There were hundreds and hundreds of variations on these signs. According to snopes.com Burma-Shave even once promised to send a contest winner to Mars as part of a promotional campaign.

Here are some Burma-Shave slogans for your enjoyment:

SHE KISSED THE HAIRBRUSH
BY MISTAKE
SHE THOUGHT IT WAS
HER HUSBAND JAKE
Burma-Shave

IF YOUR PEACH
KEEPS OUT OF REACH
BETTER PRACTICE
WHAT WE PREACH
Burma-Shave

picture of Burma Shave ad

SAID FARMER BROWN
WHO'S BALD ON TOP
"WISH I COULD
ROTATE THE CROP"
Burma-Shave

SHE PUT A BULLET
THROUGH HIS HAT
BUT HE'S HAD CLOSER
SHAVES THAN THAT
Burma-Shave

A MAN, A MISS
A CAR, A CURVE
HE KISSED THE MISS
AND MISSED THE CURVE
Burma-Shave

HENRY THE EIGHTH
SURE HAD TROUBLE
SHORT-TERM WIVES
LONG-TERM STUBBLE
Burma-Shave

IT WOULD BE MORE FUN
TO GO BY AIR
BUT WE CAN'T HANG
THESE SIGNS UP THERE
Burma-Shave

IF YOU DON'T KNOW
WHOSE SIGNS THESE ARE
YOU CAN'T HAVE
DRIVEN VERY FAR
Burma-Shave

Many of their series urged safe driving. Here are some of those:

DON'T LOSE YOUR HEAD
TO GAIN A MINUTE
YOU NEED YOUR HEAD
YOUR BRAINS ARE IN IT
Burma-Shave

DROVE TOO LONG
DRIVER SNOOZING
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT
IS NOT AMUSING
Burma-Shave

BROTHER SPEEDER
LET'S REHEARSE
ALL TOGETHER
GOOD MORNING NURSE
Burma-Shave

SPEED WAS HIGH
WEATHER WAS NOT
TIRES WERE THIN
X MARKS THE SPOT
Burma-Shave

AROUND THE CURVE
LICKETY-SPLIT
IT'S A BEAUTIFUL CAR
WASN'T IT?
Burma-Shave

NO MATTER THE PRICE
NO MATTER HOW NEW
THE BEST SAFETY DEVICE
IN THE CAR IS YOU
Burma-Shave

A GUY WHO DRIVES
A CAR WIDE OPEN
IS NOT THINKIN'
HE'S JUST HOPIN'
Burma-Shave

AT INTERSECTIONS
LOOK EACH WAY
A HARP SOUNDS NICE
BUT IT'S HARD TO PLAY
Burma-Shave

THIRTY DAYS
HATH SEPTEMBER
APRIL, JUNE
AND THE SPEED OFFENDER
Burma-Shave

BOTH HANDS ON THE WHEEL
EYES ON THE ROAD
THAT'S THE SKILLFUL
DRIVER'S CODE
Burma-Shave

THE ONE WHO DRIVES
WHEN HE'S BEEN DRINKING
DEPENDS ON YOU
TO DO HIS THINKING
Burma-Shave

CAR IN DITCH
DRIVER IN TREE
THE MOON WAS FULL
AND SO WAS HE.
Burma-Shave

This is their last slogan, used in 1963:

OUR FORTUNE
IS YOUR SHAVEN FACE
IT'S OUR BEST
ADVERTISING SPACE
Burma-Shave

And an all time favorite:

PASSING SCHOOL ZONE
TAKE IT SLOW
LET OUR LITTLE
SHAVERS GROW
Burma-Shave

I hope that you "oldsters" enjoyed this little trip down nostalgia lane and that you "youngsters" learned a bit of Americana.

divider

Becka and I are having a very enjoyable week with our family in Michigan. We're going to brave the fireworks display tomorrow evening that preceded our accident last summer, figuring the odds are low that the same thing would happen two years in a row.

The week before we arrived, one of our daughter Megan's friends who is a photographer did a "photo shoot" with Drew and another one of Drew's little friends. Here are a few of the best pictures of our little shaver:

Drew - photo shoot

Drew - photo shoot

Drew - photo shoot

Drew - photo shoot

Drew - photo shoot

Drew - photo shoot

In our hometown in Ohio, we were surprised to see among all the closed businesses in the downtown a place we thought for sure would be long gone by now, but it's still open! It's always been called the Smoke House and it's the place where the "hoods" would all hang out and shoot pool back when we lived in Fostoria. Not only is this veritable institution (est. 1907) still open, but it has a new sign. What is wrong with this picture?

no smoking at the Smoke House

I wish all you American readers a Happy 4th of July!

quotation...

Here at the 4th of July, you might find the following quotation interesting....

"American supremacy is the greatest threat to the world today." - George Soros, billionaire benefactor of MoveOn.org

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Nostalgia simply isn't what is used to be.


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Dangerous Hike and Freebies


Recently I received an e-mail with the subject line: Free lunch! Want to go? All our Thursday freebies and our thoughts about China that you'll read about below in our personal update made me take a second look at the e-mail. It was a series of outrageous pictures of a climb up a mountain in China, claiming that anyone who reached the top would eat a free lunch at a restaurant at the top. I checked with Snopes and found nothing to confirm or deny this claim. However, as I did other web searches, I found that there is quite a bit out there about the extremely dangerous hikes people can and do take on Mt. Huashan. Here are some of the pictures from the e-mail and from websites I found. I love to go hiking in the mountains, but I'm not sure this hike is my cup of green tea....

Here's a map to show where Mt. Huashan is located....

map with Mt. Huashan

Part of the climb is a pleasant ride in a gondola....

gondola ride on Mt. Huashan

Some of the sites I found stressed that the climb up Mt. Huashan is mountain hiking, not mountain climbing, which involves special equipment and knowledge. They also stressed that this particular hike is not for people not in shape, and Americans are surprised that the public is even allowed to do this - it's so dangerous!

Here are some pictures of what different parts of the "hiking trail" look like....

stairs cut into the rock

a walkway that seems to just float on the rock

Anyone care to go up this ladder...?

up a ladder

No one can say they don't warn the climbers....

standard disclaimers

Talk about walking the plank!

walking the plank

Watch your step! That's quite a drop!

girl walking the plank

guys walking the plank

I mean it - that's a really serious drop!

serious drop

Part of the climb is footholds cut into the rock and chains thoughtfully provided to hold on to....

footholds and chains

footholds and chains

footholds and chains

Be sure to stay on the staircase and hold on to the chains!

staircase to heaven

Since some parts of the trail make it difficult to pass people coming back down, someone has thought of providing two staircases - one for climbing and one for descending....

up and down stairs

As hard as this hike would be in nice weather, some people even take this hike in the winter, believe it or not!

climbing Mt. Huashan in winter

climbing Mt. Huashan in winter

Those who make it to the top of the five peaks are rewarded with some breath-taking views (as if they could still breathe once they got there!)....

The South Peak...

the South Peak

The West Peak (called the Playing Chess Pavilion)...

the West Peak

For those who can't get enough of this stuff, here's a website with stories from people who have done this hike (I'm not responsible for everything said on that site) - http://www.ssqq.com/ARCHIVE/vinlin27d.htm

So, anyone going to add this hike to your future travel and vacation plans?

freebies...

Last Thursday we took advantage of several freebies or almost-freebies. First, we went to McDonald's for lunch. They were giving to each customer a free Southern style chicken sandwich with the purchase of a medium or large soft drink. We had eaten some vegetables before leaving the house to help round out our lunch. After lunch we took off for Costco - they were offering for several days the opportunity for non-members to get in for free. What I hadn't reckoned on was that the time of our shopping coincided very nicely with all the free samples of all kinds of things that further helped round out our lunch.

That evening after dinner at home, we made the mistake of taking Dunkin Donuts up on their offer for a free iced coffee. Dunkin Donuts coffee is one of my very favorite coffees, but their iced coffee was worth every penny I paid for it. The girls took only a couple of sips of theirs, but after doctoring mine up to the point it was palatable, I finished it off. After all, it was FREE, right?! I regretted it as I thought about that semi-wretched iced coffee off and on until 1:30 a.m. Did I mention that they weren't offering decaf iced coffee?

Did anyone else take advantage of any of these freebies last week?

Many have been asking if Becka and are going to China this summer to teach English again. Earlier this school year we rattled two different door knobs, thinking the Lord might open at least one of the doors. But that did not happen, so we know that He wants us here this summer. The dean at the university where we've taught two summers before said that they would love to have us come teach in 2009. So we will plan that way.

If you're new to my blog, you might want to check out some of our adventures from the summers of 2005 and 2006 that I chronicled on the blog. You can get to those posts by clicking on the China link in the tag cloud in the sidebar. There are many pages of posts to explore about our time over there.

People have been asking me for an update on the wren's nest in our bird house. Below is a shot I took this evening. You can see several little eggs in there.

house wren eggs in our bird house

quotation...

"Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed there are many rewards, if you disgrace yourself you can always write a book." - Ronald Reagan

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Sign on high school bulletin board - "Free: every Monday through Friday. Knowledge. Bring your own container."


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Buzzwords


This past weekend a colleague and I went to a conference for foreign language teachers - the SCOLT/SCFLTA Conference - in Myrtle Beach, SC. We were able to be there only for the Saturday morning sessions. After experiencing the quality of those sessions, we wished we had attended all three days of the conference. It was far better than the national ACTFL Conference we had attended the fall of 2006!

I'm fluent in French, can hold my own in German, and can handle some situations in Spanish and Chinese. However, one of the things I found difficult at the conference was trying to understand a language that I'm not very good at - educational buzzwords. This is the impetus for today's iv....

Buzzwords

Buzzwords, expressions like scenario, 24/7, soft money, proactive, venue, wiki, hit the ground running, win-win, affluenza, dotcom, fatcat, gridlock, etc., both amuse me and drive me crazy (crazier?)! People in management, geeks, politicians, the media, and even educators love to use buzzwords.

According to Wikipedia, "a buzzword (also known as a fashion word or vogue word) is an idiom, often a neologism, commonly used in managerial, technical, administrative, and sometimes political environments. Though apparently ubiquitous in these environments, the words often have unclear meanings."

Some would readily point out that the word buzzword itself is a buzzword, so named because of the desire to employ the words that create a special effect, or buzz, in another's mind.

In the business world, it seems to be important that reports contain lots of buzzwords. What the reports actually say isn't nearly as important as the ability to show that you are on the cutting edge in the use of the current buzzwords.

In 1968, Newsweek magazine published a short, but humorous article, How to Win at Wordsmanship. After years of hacking through etymological thickets at the U.S. Public Health Service, a (then) 63-year-old official named Philip Broughton had hit upon a sure-fire method for converting frustration into fulfillment, at least jargonwise. Euphemistically called the Systematic Buzz Phrase Projector, Broughton's system employs a lexicon of 30 carefully chosen "buzzwords."

The procedure is simple: Think of any three-digit number. Then select the corresponding buzzword from each column.

For instance, number 257 produces "systematized logistical projection," a phrase that can be dropped into virtually any report with a sincere ring of decisive, knowledgeable authority. No one will have the remotest idea of what you're talking about, but the important thing is that they are not about to admit it!

BUZZWORDS FOR MANAGERS (or wannabe managers)

COLUMN I COLUMN II COLUMN III
1. heuristic 1. organizational 1. flexibility
2. systematized 2. monitored 2. capability
3. parallel 3. reciprocal 3. mobility
4. functional 4. digital 4. programming
5. responsive 5. logistical 5. scenarios
6. optional 6. transitional 6. time-phase
7. synchronized 7. incremental 7. projection
8. compatible 8. third-generation 8. hardware
9. futuristic 9. policy 9. contingency
0. integrated 0. management 0. options

After my experience at the teachers' conference this past weekend, I wondered if the same could be done for educational jargon, which borders on buzzwords. Educators are often guilty of using "edspeak" - a language spoken by those inside the education profession that is often not comprehensible to people outside the profession. The term is modeled on George Orwell's "newspeak" from his novel 1984. This professional jargon is also known as educationese, eduspeak, edubabble, and pedagogese. The following could also be helpful to anyone writing a grant proposal.

The table below enables you to create most of a sentence, giving you a verb, and adjective, and a noun. You just have to flesh it out. For instance, 239 would yield "benchmark cross-curricular methodologies". You could then craft that into a powerfully cryptic sentence such as, "This assessment tool would allow us to benchmark our present cross-curricular methodologies." Scary, huh?!

BUZZWORDS FOR EDUCATORS

Verb Adjective Noun
1. assess 1. child-centered 1. articulation
2. benchmark 2. competency-based 2. competencies
3. disintermediate 3. cross-curricular 3. curriculum integration
4. enable 4. developmentally appropriate 4. decision-making
5. facilitate 5. global 5. experiences
6. implement 6. hands-on 6. higher-order thinking
7. integrate 7. holistic 7. initiatives
8. morph 8. metacognitive 8. learning styles
9. optimize 9. performance-driven 9. methodologies
0. strategize 0. standards-based 0. outcomes

I got the words used above by picking my favorites from a long list of edspeak words at http://www.sciencegeek.net/lingo.html It's a fun site to visit - there's a button at the top that you can keep hitting to generate random phrases from their long lists.

If you'd like to see a long list of other buzzwords, each one linked to its definition, go to http://www.investopedia.com/categories/buzzwords.asp

You can have more fun with a random buzzword generator at http://www.1728.com/buzzword.htm

quotation...

"I think we educators are unusually prone to use jargon, and of all people we ought to be the clearest in our language." - Dr. Ruth Steele, at the time she made this statement, director of the state Education Department and a former English teacher

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Remember: Today's buzzword could very well be tomorrow's drivel.


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Optical Conclusions?


Recently I ran across something on the web that claimed that you could tell whether you were right-brained or left-brained, based on which direction you saw a revolving object spinning. Upon thinking about that, I decided to do a blog post on optical illusions. This post is longer than most, but it's also not much verbiage and mainly images.

Optical Conclusions?

"We are fearfully and wonderfully made!" It is truly fascinating what our brains do with the images that come in through the eyes. For a few years while still in my 40s when I had my last pair of contact lenses, I tried monovision. I was really surprised how quickly my brain adjusted into using my right eye for distance and my left eye for close up.

As I mentioned in the "today's instant vacation" section above, I found something online that supposed helped you know if you were right- or left-brained. Below is the general idea.

If you can imagine having a overhead view of the picture below, which way is the axe spinning for you, clockwise or counter-clockwise?

(I originally put a picture of a spinning brain in the space above, but some people had a hard time seeing a difference in the spinning. I think the axe will make it easier to see.) According to what I read, once you perceive it going in one direction, it's hard to switch but it is possible. Then, once you see it switched, it can be just as hard to get it to switch back! For me, it switches frequently and without my even trying to make it do otherwise.

Supposedly if you see it going counter-clockwise first, you use the right side of your brain more. If you see it going clockwise, you use the left side of your brain more. I'm not sure that that's true. A retired science professor who reads my blog told me that my readers should be skeptical - that it's not terribly scientific. Below are the characteristics - I'll let you decide if you think it's true for you. Maybe it's like horoscopes - so general and glib that the statements could apply to almost anyone.

LEFT BRAIN FUNCTIONS:
uses logic
detail oriented
facts rule
words and language
present and past
math and science
can comprehend
knowing
acknowledges
order/pattern perception
knows object name
reality based
forms strategies
practical
safe

RIGHT BRAIN FUNCTIONS:
uses feeling
"big picture" oriented
imagination rules
symbols and images
present and future
philosophy & religion
can "get it" (i.e. meaning)
believes
appreciates
spatial perception
knows object function
fantasy based
presents possibilities
impetuous
risk taking

I found another interesting thing focusing on the left-brain/right-brain thing. Look at the chart below and say the COLOR, not the word.

Apparently your right brain tries to say the color, but your left brain insists on reading the word. I'm definitely left-brained on that one!

In the picture below, which square is darker, square A or B?

Believe it or not, square A is exactly the same shade of gray as square B! I couldn't believe it myself, so I used a little utility I have for figuring out colors on websites. According to the utility, both squares are hex color #787878.

In the picture below, the entire horizontal bar is the same color all the way across. In fact, it's the same #787878 as in the two squares of the picture above.

Try to count the gray dots in the image below. I promise, it's not an animated picture at all.

The picture below is also not animated, but most people see all kinds of motion in it.

In the image below the brain also produces motion when you concentrate on the black dot in the center and then move your head forward and backward.

In the three images below, lines that are actually straight appear to be sloping or curved because of what's near them.

In the picture below, which of the center dots is larger?

Actually, the center dots are the same size.

In the picture below, which of the figures do you think would measure the tallest with a ruler?

Look at the the pictures below to see what you see first.

Did you see a duck or a rabbit?

Did you see two faces or a vase?

Which word did you see first?

Did you see a face or a word?

Is the book face up or face down?

Which way are the stairs going? If you look long enough, their direction will change.

Did you see a young wife or an old mother-in-law?

The Tower of Pisa leans slightly more each year. In which picture below is the Tower of Pisa leaning more?

Actually, it's the same picture twice.

The following is an interesting example of what the brain can do with what our eyes take in. Stare at the four black dots in the center of the image below for 30 to 60 seconds. Then quickly close your eyes and look at something bright (like a lamp or a window with sunlight coming through it). You should see a white circle with an image inside it.

I'll close with an interesting picture I found on an optical illusion website. I don't know if it's actually an optical illusion, and I really don't know how they did it!

The annual Bible Conference was a huge blessing, but it is now past and it's back to classes. It's hard to believe that six weeks from now this school year and graduation will be histoire. So much to do in the next six weeks...!

We received some Easter pictures of our grandson Drew. Here are several...

For anyone interested, our daughter Megan has put out on the web some scrapbook pages she's done on Drew. You can see them by clicking here.

quotation...

"Our love for God is a reflection of His love for us." - Dr. John Vaughn

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

A baby first laughs at the age of four weeks. By that time his eyes focus well enough to see you clearly.


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