The Cactus Who Wanted to Be a Christmas Tree

Katie loves Christmastime. Getting presents is nice, and playing in the snow with her friends is fun, but what she likes best are all the pretty decorations...

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Sunny and Victor: Best Friends Forever

Bears and rabbits are not supposed to be friends, but the story of how Sunny Bunny and Victor Bear became “best friends forever” is a tale of friendship...

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Some Poems About Life

(30 Actually) Gems of Wit & Wisdom

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Remembering the Dark Side of History

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. — George Santayana As a history nerd, I’ve always been interested in one of our past’s most scholarly dilemmas — how do you remember the dark side of history without glorifying it?  Setting aside the issue of Confederate monuments, I have three examples of

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Animals and Their Personalities

Any pet owner can tell you that animals have personalities.  Now there’s a book that takes this one step further.  Mousy Cats and Sheepish Coyotes: The Science of Animal Personalities is by John Shivik, a wildlife expert in the development, testing, and application of non-lethal techniques for predator management. This project traces back to when

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Can Your Dog Help You Live Longer?

We all know there can be a special bond between dog owners and their pets.  But can there be health benefits, too? A study from Sweden, published November 7, 2017 in the journal Scientific Reports, suggests a correlation between dog ownership and a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease and other causes. Research like this

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The Language of Songbirds and Us

Remember the song “Let’s All Sing Like the Birdies Sing”?  There may be some truth to it. Could there be a link between human speech and music, and birdsongs?  Is there a connecting biological process?  Recently published research provides evidence that there is a common hardwiring in how songbirds and humans produce and understand sounds. 

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Original Poetry — Communication

Here’s a quick poem while I try to think of something better to write about.   The Art of Communication We don‘t always say what we mean and language is our co-conspirator. “It’s all good” usually isn’t. “Yeah, right” is usually wrong. A double negative is positive. “I’m okay” means you’re not. “Nothing’s wrong” is

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Celebrating Failure

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm. ” — Sir Winston Churchill Do you remember the Sony Betamax?  (I still have one.)  How about coffee-flavored Coca-Cola? These are obvious failures most people would like to forget.  But according to an article in the December 2017 issue

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How To Sell A Car

Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be car salesmen. Okay, that’s not how the original song lyrics went.  But that’s what I thought of while listening to a podcast from National Public Radio’s This American Life.  This episode is entitled “129 Cars” and originally aired December 13, 2013; it was recently rebroadcast. “We

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Honoring Childhood Victims Of Cancer

In 2009, Rik Zortman lost his three-year-old son Armstrong to brain cancer.  How can you honor a child who dies so young? As a 44-year-old runner from Avoca, Iowa, Rik thought of a novel way — he would trace his son’s name in the streets during his next run.  “Armstrong” appeared on September 1st, beginning

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