Sunday, September 14, 2014

Traveling through theSoutheast or Southwest? Keep An Eye Out...

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Hitting all of the news agencies is information on a pesky critter that can be a problem:  the venomous Puss Moth (ASP) Caterpillar.

Usually, they chomp away on leaves high in the trees, but some have been spotted crawling in many outdoor spaces. Warnings have been issued in Florida and Texas, but they have been spotted in several other states. 

What do they look like?  They have long silky hair that resembles fur in shades of yellow to reddish brown, making them a curiosity for children interested in creepy, crawly things. Some of us have children in our life circles who love to investigate and who want to show us any creature they can get their hands on.  This is one  creature we want them to avoid.

And, because they do fall from the trees, anyone doing outdoor work should be on the lookout.

The Puss Moth Caterpillar has  spiny hairs that embed themselves in the skin of someone unlucky enough to touch one. These venomous spines cause reactions that  range from pain and rashes to nausea, belly pain, and headache, to more severe shock and respiratory problems (

To see what they look like, click on the link below:

Dr. Nancy Hinkle, Entomologist, University of Georgia, recommends removing the spines from the skin with scotch tape.   Washing the skin with soap and water and applying ice packs help.  More severe reactions warrant a trip to the doctor.

Don't Underestimate Women Who Read

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We know tons of avid readers among us.  This little story illustrates that we're quick thinkers as well.

Subject: In Praise of Women Who Read
One morning a husband returns after several hours of fishing and decides to take a nap.  Although not familiar with the lake, the wife decides to take the boat out.  She motors out a short distance, anchors, and reads her book.
Along comes a Game Warden in his boat.  He pulls up alongside and says, " Good morning, Ma'am, what are you doing?"
"Reading a book," she replies, thinking, Isn't that obvious?
"You're in a Restricted Fishing Area," he informs her.
"I'm sorry, officer, but I'm not fishing, I'm reading."
"Yes, but you have all the equipment.  For all I know you could start at any moment.  I'll have to take you in and write you up."
"For reading a book," she replies.
"You're in a Restricted Fishing Area," he informs her again.
"I'm sorry, officer, but I'm not fishing, I'm reading."
"Yes, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment.  I'll have to take you in and write you up."
"If you do that, I'll have to charge you with sexual assault," says the woman."
"But I haven't even touched you," says the Game Warden.
"That's true, but you have all the equipment.  For all I know you could start at any moment."
"Have a nice day ma'am," and he left. 
MORAL:  Never argue with a woman who reads. It's likely she can also think.
(Thanks to Joan H for forwarding this to us.)

Any Young Girls in Your Life? Read This.

We are grandparents, parents, uncles and aunts, and friends of many young girls.  Below is a list of 10 things a girl should know or be able to do by age 10.  These suggestions resonated with those of us who previewed them.  Some of us may agree or disagree with Usky's list, but they give all of us something to think about. Take a minute to look at them. They were posted by Laura Usky in the Huffington Post's HuffPostBlog.
Usky's own blog is listed below:


Finally! Time to Read-New Recommendations

Four recommendations this time span non-fiction and fiction choices. 

Pearl sends us both fiction and non-fiction possibilities.  She writes, "Here are some titles of books I have greatly enjoyed.

1. Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri.  It is a book of 8 stories. Lahiri is the author of The Namesake and Interpreter of Maladies, also wonderful books.  I have found her a terrific writer."

2.  She continues, "A book I would not have expected to like was The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. It is about the rowers from the U. of Washington and the 1936 Berlin Olympics.  It combines a history of the times, higher education, and divisions of social class into an intriguing book."

3.  And, thirdly, she notes, " I have been enjoying Daniel Silva's books about Gabriel Allon an art restorer and Israeli spy.  The most recent one I've read is The Messenger, but I've enjoyed them all.  I would define them as spy thrillers but found them in the fiction section of the book store.

Another non-fiction study comes as a recommendation of one of our adult children.  And it would be embarrassing not to read a book on education that he has recommended to his 1000+ LinkedIn contacts, right?  It is The Smartest Kids in the World and How They got That Way by Amanda Ripley.

Ripley's editor at Time asked her to do a story on Michelle Rhee, leader of Washington DC's public schools. The author sat in on classes in which students were excited and engaged, and she worried through classrooms full of disengaged students. Beginning with that assignment, Ripley went on to investigate the vast amount of information on achievement in the US and around the world. 
She investigated the PISA (Program for International Student Assessment), its test content , its emphasis on creativity, and the results of  approximately 333,000 teens in 43 countries who took the test in 2000.  She followed three foreign exchange students, who were from Oklahoma, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania as they experienced student life in the three top-scoring countries.  Her resulting observations are cogent and helpful. 
An unanticipated gem in this book is  Appendix 1: " How to Spot a World-Class Education"- a powerful guide for any of us analyzing our own schools or the possibilities for the children in our lives.
(Thanks to Pearl and to Eric for these recommendations.)