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Showing posts from May, 2012

All My Son Needs To Know He's Learning In Kindergarten

"So," I asked my 5-year old. "What have you learned in kindergarten so far this year?" "Well, actually, we learned nothing at all." Okaaaaaaaaaay, then. Nice to know. Supposedly, kindergarten is supposed to teach you all sorts of foundational things -- from early reading and arithmetic to sound morals. My son has a different idea about what he's learned. Aside from "nothing at all," these are ten things he's told me he's learned in kindergarten: 1. Dolphins can fight sharks. 2. You have to hide your bakugan during class, otherwise the teacher will take it away, even if you're just fixing it, not playing with it. 3. Aaron is Emily's boyfriend. [Both children are five.] 4. Ants are stronger than dinosaurs because dinosaurs went extinct, but ants didn't. Also, ants can bite humans and it hurts really bad. 5. Speaking of dinosaurs, if you have dino babies, you have to get shots from the doctor. ["Dino ba

The Number One Stupiest Hollywood & Harlequin Lies About Romance

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There's a stupid myth promulgated in some romance books and especially in Hollywood chick flicks that just drives me crazy. It goes like this: If you hate someone enough, you love them. Both books and movies do this. On the theory that opposites attract, they put together two people with nothing in common, or worse yet, who actually hate one another, and call it love. If you are writing a romance, you know it needs tension. Having your characters hate one another and bicker constantly can create tension, but is that really how true love begins? Or lasts? In a word: no. John Gottmann at the University of Washington has found that couples with a ratio of fewer than five positive interactions for every negative one are destined for divorce. A story with too much lovey-dovey and not enough tension would be boring, and it turns out this is true in real life too. If you have a too high a ratio of positive statements for negative statements (13:1 or more), your affect comes acro

The Secret History of Cinco de Mayo

It’s Cinco de Mayo.  And the #1 question is how the French gave Americans (and some Pacific islanders) a great excuse to get plastered.  Right behind “Were piƱatas really made out of pottery?” and “which beer is best for Cinco de Mayo?”) Hold onto your bottle openers folks, I shall reveal the secret history of Cinco de Mayo. It began 159 years ago, in the ye olde Nineteenth Century. It started out so well. All over the world, people were tweeting, “Screw #kings. Let’s rule ourselves. #99%!” Hello, American Revolution! Bonjour, French Revolution! Hola, Latin American Revolutions! True, the French started lopping off heads almost at once, and the new Latin American nations were as much a republic as the Kardashians are talented. Mexico alone went through fifty forms of government in fewer years. The United States bought some time by putting off the question of whether democracy was compatible with slavery. Spoiler alert... it wasn’t. So by mid-century, the world was fooba

Pros and Cons of Perfectionism

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I have an interesting book called Brain Lock about how to overcome Obsessive Compulsive Disorder with meditation techniques. The way that OCD works is that the part of the brain normally reserved to signal DANGER is overactive. That's why a person can know, intellectually, that they turned off the stove, but still feel, at a "gut" level that something is wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.... It's not the gut but the brain that is flooded with those feelings of danger. The interesting thing is that the more someone with OCD gives in to the temptation to appease that sense of danger--be it check the stove, count the numbers, reorder the shelves or wash hands one more time--the worse the sense of danger grows, and the more the person "has" to do in order to try to make it right. It's a loop. I don't have OCD, except when it comes to writing. When I'm writing the DANGER zone of my brain can definitely get caught in a loop. One scene is wron