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Posts Tagged ‘geography’

Places to Go and Not to Go

picture of places you'll go

My third semester French students have been working on mastering the prepositions used in French to tell where someone or something is, is going to, or is coming from. You former students of French probably remember what a challenge this is, especially if you are already weak in geography. In French the preposition that's used depends on the type of geographical location (city, country, island, etc.) and in certain cases the gender of that location (a masculine country vs a feminine country). Thus to say you were going to the following places, you would end up with à Paris, en Italie, au Pérou, and aux États-Unis. You can see the potential for frustration, especially if you can't even remember whether a place is a city or a country, let alone what gender it is! Since, along with the prepositions, we're working on the future tense, the title of the Dr. Seuss book seemed perfect.

This past week a reader sent me a little story loaded with puns. I've tweaked it slightly and added some ideas of my own. I hope you enjoy it.

Places to Go and Not to Go

I have visited many places in my life, but I've never been in Cahoots. Apparently, you can't go there alone — you have to be in Cahoots with someone. I've also never been in Cognito. I hear no one recognizes you there. I've often wished I could at least be in Visible. As much as I want to go, though, you'll probably never see me there. I would like to get to Conclusions, but to do so, you often have to jump — something I'm trying not to do much any more.
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Travel Destinations

picture of cloud formation

With summer officially here, thoughts turn towards a vacation trip (my apologies to those in the southern hemisphere where it's now winter ... which sounds good right now as our temps here are in the upper 90s F!) Each country has areas full of charm and also idiosyncrasies. Today's iv highlights some of those "quaint aspects" of several parts of the USA.

If you get lost traveling, how can you tell where you are?

You might be in Arizona if...
1. You are willing to park 3 blocks away because you found shade.
2. You've learned to open and drive your car without touching the car door or the steering wheel.
3. You can attend any function wearing shorts and a tank top.
4. You can drive for 4 hours in one direction and never leave town.
5 You have over 100 recipes for Mexican food.
6. The 4 seasons are tolerable, hot, really hot, and ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!!
7. You know that "dry heat" is comparable to what hits you in the face when you open your oven door.

You might be in California if...
1. You make over $250,000 a year, and you still can't afford to buy a house.
2 The high school quarterback calls a time-out to answer his cell phone.
3. The fastest part of your commute is going down your driveway.
4. You sleep through earthquakes.
5. When someone asks you how far something is, you tell them how long it will take to get there rather than how many miles away it is.
6. You think that you're normal and everyone else is behind the times.

You might be in Michigan if...
1. Your definition of a small town is one that doesn't have a lake.
2. The word "thumb" brings to mind first a geographical rather than anatomical significance.
3. You learned to pilot a boat before the training wheels were off your bike.
4. You expect to receive Vernors when you order ginger ale.
5. Half the coins in your pocket are Canadian.
6. You drive 80 mph on the highway and pass on the right.

You might be in New York City if...
1. You say "the city" and expect everyone to know you mean Manhattan.
2. You have never been to the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building.
3. You can get into a four-hour argument about how to get from Columbus Circle to Battery Park, but can't find Wisconsin on a map.
4. You think Central Park is "nature,"
5. You've worn out a car horn.
6. You think eye contact is an act of aggression.

You might be in the Deep South if...
1. You can rent a movie and buy bait in the same store.
2."Y'all" is singular and "all y'all" is plural.
3. After five years you still hear, "You ain't from 'round here, are ya?"
4. "He needed killin'" is a valid defense.
5. Everyone has 2 first names: Billy Bob, Jimmy Bob, Mary Sue, Betty Jean, etc.

You might be in Maine if...
1. You have only three spices: salt, pepper, ketchup.
2. You design your Halloween costumes to fit over a snowsuit.
3. You have more than one recipe for moose.
4. You have more miles on your snow blower than on your car.
5. Instead of referring to two or more people as "y'all" or "all y'all," you call them "you guys," even if both of them are women.
6. The four seasons are: almost winter, winter, still winter, and Black flies.

You might be in Colorado if...
1. You carry your $3,000 mountain bike atop your $500 car.
2. You tell your husband to pick up Granola on his way home, and he stops at the day care center.
3. A pass does not involve a football or dating.
4. The top of your head is bald, but you still have a pony tail.

You might be in the Midwest if...
1. You've never met any celebrities, but the mayor knows your name.
2. Your idea of a traffic jam is ten cars waiting to pass a tractor.
3. You have had to switch from "heat" to "A/C" on the same day.
4. You end sentences with a preposition, for example "Where's my coat at?"
5. When asked how your trip was to any exotic place, you say, "It was different!"

You might be in Florida if....
1. You eat dinner at 3:15 in the afternoon.
2. All purchases include a coupon of some kind -- even houses and cars.
3. Everyone can recommend an excellent dermatologist.
4. Road construction never ends anywhere in the state.
5. Cars in front of you are often driven by headless people.


We hope to go north later this summer to see family and for a much-needed "Grandma and Grandpa fix" before the new school year begins. Do you have any travel plans?

If any of you want to make a list for your home state or country or if you can add to any of the above, comment away!


"Belief affects behavior, and behavior reflects belief." - Dr. Bruce McAllister

=^..^= =^..^=

Should you trust a stockbroker who's married to a travel agent?

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Kids’ Thanksgiving Menus

I love children and the wonderful things they say! At the end of this past week, our grandson Drew has come up with his special name for his grandpa - Papi (pronounced like the flower - poppy). His two grandmothers remain nameless, but I suspect that their special names will be revealed shortly. 🙂

Today's instant vacation starts off with some four year olds' ideas for Thanksgiving dinner. Some of you struggling with what to have for Thanksgiving next week may want to consider some of their ideas. That list is followed by some junior highers' ideas concerning the Seven Wonders of the World.

Kids' Thanksgiving menus

This comes from the teacher of a 4 year old kindergarten class. Their assignment was to tell about their family's Thanksgiving meal.

Ashley - We eat pizza. Put it in a really hot oven. My mommy knows when it's done. It has white cheese and pepperoni on it.

Jessica - For Thanksgiving we eat chicken. Put it in a pan and cook it. Check on it and when it's all black it's done. For dessert have chocolate chip cookies.

Emily - Put the chicken bones in and get them hotter. Serve it with cranberries, and carrots. For dessert have chocolate candy.

Christina - We eat corn and cereal. Put sugar on the cereal and eat it. Have cookies for a treat.

Mario - We eat popcorn. Put it in a microwave for 2 times. Put butter and salt on it.

Stanley - We eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Put jelly on the bread. Then put the peanut butter on. Have milk with it.

Shedric - We eat turkey. Put the turkey in the oven. Put bones inside of it. Have pie for dessert.

Brett - We eat cereal. Put it in a bowl. Add milk. Use a spoon. It tastes good.

Sara - Cut up the turkey with a knife. Have mashed potatoes. Eat pumpkin cake for dessert.

Briana - Put the turkey in the oven. It has to stay in the oven until night time. Stuff it with stuffing. Serve it with peas and mashed potatoes. For dessert have nothing.

Larry - We eat raisin cereal. Put it in a bowl. Put milk in it. Serve it with chips.

Amanda T. - We eat turkey. Put it in the oven for a really long time. Stukk it with ham. It's black when it's done. Eat it with white potatoes and corn. For dessert have chocolate pudding.

Joseph - We eat pork chops. Put ketchup on them. Put them in the oven at a whole bunch of degrees. Serve it with french fries.

Courtney - We eat macaroni. Put the macaroni in a bowl and cook it up. Serve cheese with it. Have salad with ketchup on top.

Cara - Cook the turkey on the stove. Stuff the turkey with chicken. Cook it for 16 minutes. Have yogurt for dessert.

Cassondra - We have chicken. Clean the chicken. Put butter on it with a knife. Then it's ready to eat. Have butter potatoes. For dessert have strawberry yogurt.

Amber - We eat peanut butter. Put the peanut butter on bread. Put the jelly on the peanut butter.

Pangtala - We eat bananas and milk.

Nicholas - First you cut the turkey witha knife. Then you cook it in the oven for 12 minutes at 4 degrees. The alarm goes off when it's done. Eat it with a fork.

Kelly - Put seeds on the turkey and put it in the oven. Put it on the table with spaghetti-O's, toast, and pork chops.

Anthony - Put the turkey in the oven. It has to be very hot. When it beeps, it has to come out. Serve it with carrots. For dessert have chocolate and vanilla ice cream.

Thomas - We eat pizza. Pat it and spread it. Put mushrooms on it. Cook it in the oven for 3 months. Eat it with corn.

Devin - We eat macaroni. We eat mashed potatoes. You make it in the kettle. Cook it 2 minutes, and you sit down. Then you go in your room. We drink water.

Gabriel - We eat pancakes. They are hard. My mommy makes them.


A junior high Geography class was studying the Seven Wonders of the World. At the end of that section, the students were asked to list what they thought could be considered the current Seven Wonders of the World. Though there was some disagreement, the following got the most votes:

1. Egypt's Great Pyramids
2. India's Taj Mahal
3. The Grand Canyon
4. Panama Canal
5. Empire State Building
6. St. Peter's Basilica
7. China's Great Wall

While gathering the votes, the teacher noted that one student, a quiet girl, hadn't turned in her paper yet. So she asked the girl if she were having trouble with her list. The quiet girl replied, "Yes, a little. I couldn't quite make up my mind because there were so many." The teacher said, "Well, tell us what you have and maybe we can help." The girl hesitated, then read, "I think the Seven Wonders of the World are

1. to touch
2. to taste
3. to see
4. to hear

She hesitated again and then added

5. to feel
6. to laugh
7. and to love

The silence in the room was almost deafening. It is so easy for us to look at exploits of man or at spectacular things and refer to them as "wonders" while we overlook some of the seemingly little things God has given us, regarding them as merely "ordinary."

May we all be reminded today of God's ordinary blessings that are truly wonders. In connection with the Thanksgiving season, I try to imagine the reaction of a group of women at a bridal shower if the bride opened her gifts without comment, then at the end said, "I sure am thankful for all this!" without thanking any individual gift-giver or commenting on any gift along the way. Don't you think we're sometimes like that at Thanksgiving? "We have so much to be thankful for!" we cheerfully exclaim. As we are "thankful" at this time of year, let's be sure to remember to say thanks to the One from whom all blessings flow, and not just be thankful that we're blessed, forgetting the Giver.


"When God is good to you, it's not because everything is okay. It's because He is good." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=

Thanksgiving is not just a holiday - it's an attitude.

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Cool Birthday!

We celebrated our grandson Drew's first birthday this past weekend. I have way too many pictures to pick from, so I will show as much restraint as possible. Here are some of the stories and some pictures....

Grandma and Nora traveled up as planned. They got stuck in a horrible traffic backup in Tennessee, not far from the state line to Kentucky. They got off at the next exit the traffic crept up to to try to find a restroom. Several men from the DOT pulled off to see if they were OK. Becka asked the one man why the traffic was so backed up, thinking he'd say it was an accident since the southbound traffic was flowing fine. He told her that the some of the mountain had caved! Yikes! We were thankful that it had happened before they got that far. He told them that if they continued on the road at that exit, they would come to a gravel road that would eventually take them to Jellico on the other side of the place where the mountain had caved. It was after dark, but they could see well enough to know that the left side of the gravel road was a sheer drop-off! I was very relieved when they called me from Jellico!

On Friday they managed to stay ahead of the snow storm that hammered Ohio. Below is a picture of them at lunch time in Perrysburg, OH, with some of the snow from earlier last week.

What Becka and Nora didn't know was that a few weeks ago I cashed in some frequent-flyer miles to fly up for the weekend too! I was supposed to arrive in Detroit at about midnight, but because of the snow, our pilot was delayed in arriving from his flight from Toronto. So my three hour layover in Chicago O'Hare became a six hour layover! (reminiscent of the theme song of Gilligan's Island ... a three hour tour!) When I arrived in Detroit at about 3:00 a.m. my son-in-law (who was in on my surprise) was there waiting for me. It was so fun when I slipped into our bedroom, kissed Becka to wake her up, and enjoyed her complete surprise!

We all really enjoyed being together on Saturday as preparations were going on for the "friends party" at 5:30 that afternoon. Meg and Jim asked me if I would give Drew his first trim to try to reduce his "baby mullet." Here are a couple of pictures of the process....

"Hey, Grandpa, what are you doing to me?!"

A lot of preparations went on in the kitchen for the food for the party the theme of which was puppies. Nora set up a cookie factory on the kitchen table....

Here's a tray full of the finished product....

Megan made a cute cake she'd seen online....

Drew also got his own cupcake - his first taste of cake! He enjoyed the cake, but he didn't want to touch it.

Drew really enjoyed the presents....

Grandma loved being with her boy....

It's hard to remember his being such a tiny preemie a year ago - he's such a fine, upstanding boy now!

My flights home Sunday were less eventful, and the delay in Chicago O'Hare was shorter than Friday night's delay. What's kind of sad is that 10 hours of my weekend were spent at O'Hare! Yuck! Becka and Nora are driving back to South Carolina today (Tuesday). It will be great to have them home again!


My recent trip up north, where they are experiencing one of their hardest winters in a long time, reminded me of the horrors of global warming and of an e-mail I received recently about the Northern Lights and a frozen Antarctic wave.


Yellowknife, named after copper, is the the capital of Canada's Northwest Territories. Here are a few pictures of the Northern Lights over Yellowknife and living in teepees at 37 degrees below 0....

It's beyond cool!

Below are some pictures of Antarctica. In the e-mail I received, what you see below was attributed to a quick freeze of a wave in super frigid air, but according to snopes it's actually the result of melting and refreezing. Whatever the situation, that's one cold place!


"It's nice to have the things money can buy, as long as you don't lose the things money can't buy." - Kevin Johns

=^..^= =^..^=

If it's zero degrees outside today and it's supposed to be twice as cold tomorrow, how cold is it going to be?

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New License Plate Game

My wife Becka and our daughter Nora will be leaving this evening for Detroit. They plan to drive to Kentucky, spend the night in a hotel, then continue their trip Friday. Their thinking is that if they had decided to drive the whole way up on Friday, they would have arrived in Detroit right at Friday rush hour. They'll drive back here on Tuesday.

They are going up at this time to help celebrate the first birthday of our grandson Drew on Sunday. It's hard to believe that he's a year old already! There will be a friends party on Saturday afternoon and a family party on Sunday afternoon.

When our children were little, we used to pass the time on roadtrips (trying to ward off some of the squabbles) by playing that old favorite - The License Plate Game, seeing if we could see and write down a plate from each of the fifty states before the trip was over. I think the best we ever did was maybe 37 or 38 different states in one trip, surprisingly bagging Alaska and Hawaii on one trip or another!

With Becka and Nora's upcoming roadtrip to Michigan, I thought I'd give them something to do that ramps that game up to a more sophisticated level - identifying a car's home state or home town by looking at the the driver or other car features, before looking at the license plate for verification of your deductive skills. Maybe some of my readers could add comments giving other helpful tips for IDing drivers from their part of the world or tendancies they have noted in various locales....

How to identify where a driver is from...

Changing lanes or turning without using a blinker or speeding up when he sees your blinker rather than letting you change lanes, running red lights, pulling out in front of you from a side street when there's nothing behind you, waiting at a side street halfway out into your lane, driving down the middle of a street rather than in his lane: Greenville, South Carolina

Knee up against steering wheel, one hand on Tim Horton's coffee cup, cell phone in ear, accelerator to the floor, applying makeup, doing crossword puzzle in the morning Free Press, knocking down orange barrels, changing lanes without turn signals: Detroit (please pray for Becka and Nora since this is not the kind of thing they're used to here in Greenville) 😀

One hand on wheel, one hand on horn: Chicago

One hand on wheel, one hand making rude gestures out the window: New York

One hand on wheel, one hand making rude gestures out the window, cutting across all lanes of traffic: New Jersey

One hand on wheel, one hand on newspaper, foot solidly on accelerator: Boston

Foot lightly on the gas pedal (usually driving 5 or more mph under the speed limit), both hands on steering wheel, or if one hand isn't on the steering wheel the other hand holding a cup of Starbuck's coffee, seat pushed all the way up to the steering wheel, driving a Toyota Camry: Cleveland

One hand on wheel, one hand on nonfat double decaf cappuccino, cradling cell phone, brick on accelerator, and with a gun on lap: Southern California

Lowered Honda, can't see over dash, driving too fast or too slow, car sounds like a bee as it goes by: Los Angeles

Both hands on wheel, eyes shut, both feet on brake, quivering in terror: Ohio, but driving in California.

One hand on laptop computer, one hand at on-board navigation/Internet console installed in dash board, cell phone attached to head with microphone earpiece, having a executive meeting with half a dozen people on speaker phone, palm pilot wedged between knees to observe up to date stock quotes, and shoes kicked off, and feet crossed because traffic hasn't moved in the past hour: California (Bay Area / Silicon Valley)

Both hands in air, gesturing, both feet on accelerator, head turned to talk to someone in back seat: Italy

One hand on a 12 oz. double shot latte, one knee on wheel, cradling cell phone, foot on brake, mind on the game on the radio, banging head on steering wheel while stuck in traffic: Seattle

No use of turn signal, or left blinker on for 26 blocks ... also cradling cheap cell phone: Dubuque, Iowa

One hand on wheel, one hand hanging out the window, hunting rifle between legs, feet alternating between both being on the accelerator and both being on the brake, keeping speed steadily at 70mph, driving down the center of the road unless coming around a blind curve, in which case they are on the left side of the road, throwing a McDonald's bag out the window: Texas male

One hand constantly refocusing the rear-view mirror to show different angles of the BIG hair, one hand going between mousse, brush, and rat-tail to keep the helmet hair going, both feet on the accelerator, poodle steering the car, chrome .38 revolver with mother of pearl inlaid handle in the glove compartment: Texas female

Both hands on steering wheel in a relaxed posture, eyes constantly checking the rear-view mirror to watch for visible emissions from their own or another's car: Colorado

One hand on steering wheel, the other hand waving gun out the window and firing repeatedly, keeping a careful eye out for landmarks along the way so as to be able to come back and pick up any bullets that didn't hit other motorists, so as not to litter: Colorado resident on spotting a car with Texas plate

Beat up 1983 Dodge Ram pick-up truck, right hand holding a Dunkin Donuts coffee, cigarette dangling from mouth, greasy hair shoved underneath an oil stained cap, oldies blaring from the radio: Maine

Both hands on the wheel, seat as far forward as possible, head fixed only looking forward, ignoring people behind and beside you, stopping and waiting for the road to fully clear before making any forward progress: Toronto

Both hands clenched on steering wheel, driver staring directly forward, cutting in front of you and slowing down to 40 in a 60 zone then looking in rearview mirror in wonder as to why the car behind is flashing high beams: Ontario

Engaged in heated political discussion with espresso in one hand and croissant in the other, aiming for pedestrians who have the mistaken notion that crosswalks are for them: Quebec

One hand on wheel, other hand reaching out window trying to catch the windshield wiper to snap the ice off the blade: Minnesota

Four wheel drive pickup truck, shotgun mounted in rear window, empty cans on floor, squirrel tails attached to antenna: West Virginia male

Junker, driven by someone who previously had a nice car and who is also now wearing a barrel instead of nice clothes: Las Vegas

One hand on the wheel the other waving at every car that passes as if it were his neighbor: North Carolina

One finger on steering wheel of a jacked up 4x4, country music blaring from speakers, dead coyote in back, hay leaves blowing out of bed while going down the highway: Montana

Both hands on wheel, chunks of rust falling off by the pound: Nebraska

Two hands gripping wheel, blue hair barely visible above window level, driving 35 in the left lane on the interstate, with the left blinker on: Florida "seasoned citizen" driver, also known as a "no-see-'em"

Both hands on the reigns: Pennsylvania


"Is the gospel good news for you, or is it just good information?" - Dr. Tim Keesee

=^..^= =^..^=

Teach a child to be polite and courteous in the home and, when he grows up, he'll never be able to edge his car out onto a freeway.

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