Thoughts and photos by Lois. It's supposed to be funny, or thought-provoking, or both.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Blog Readability -- It's ON . . .

Ok, so blogging ringleader kim1champ checked a bunch of the blogs for readability ratings and (codicil -- she didn't necessarily agree with the results) . . . but found many of those checked rated "high school readability" level by some automated on-line reading level checker which may I add indignantly included not a word of criteria, justification, or explanation. So . . . it's ON. Now I will add a list of words I like to use (just ask my friends, I'm the vocab nerd) that I consider above high school reading level.


That's just for starters. I am officially fired up like an Obama supporter on primary day in an underpopulated red state! Next time lets run the family xmas newsletter through the readability meter . . . (still fired up) . . . okay, how's this for readability . . . without cheating, I made it to level 49 on If you haven't played, check it out -- it's a vocabulary quiz where sponsors donate rice to 3rd world nations for every word players answer right. It's fun and it's a good cause.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

How to Look Good in Front of the Camera!

I eagerly clicked on the above Yahoo! "news" -- and they use the term loosely -- link, hoping for some really great insider scoop BUT NO! Just the same old "flattering 3/4 view" not very cleverly renamed the "cheerleader pose" (clearly, cheerleaders have changed their pose from back in my day . . .what happened to one leg straight, other leg bent at 45 degree angle with both arms straight overhead clutching school colored pompoms?).

Here's a few great LoSpace tips they didn't include:
1. holding a heavy kid makes your arms looked toned, if no kid is immediately available, avoid smushing arms against sides; it makes them look wider.
2. big sunglasses hide crow's feet around eyes.
3. there is truly no help for short legs (unless photographer crouches down really low to the ground.
See below for demo:

See the tips for yourself:

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ron Paul is WRONG!

I am the new biggest fan of the IRS . . . for some inexplicable reason the "system" kicked back the federal tax credit for my environmentally conscious 43 mpg Civic Hybrid, and I have called the IRS 800-number three times to get an explanation. It has something to do with Alternative Minimum Tax but beyond that, color me befuddled. So it's back on the phone tomorrow. Call time invested to date:
3/5: 58 minutes (spoke to 2 nice enough people)
3/12: 67 minutes (at least half on hold), then 57 minutes (56 on hold) -- accidentally hung up both times by face-beeping. Oh well.

3/13 update: 40 minutes more, some on hold, this time the issue is being referred to a reviewer, none of the customer service ops can explain it, apparently a very obscure question. Yeah, like they never get asked "Can I please have my $2000 back?!?!" Now we will apparently hear something in 30 days . . .

Here's the kicker: no one can exlain the "correction" but they surely are nice! So I have to say we need the IRS. At least these people aren't telemarketers calling us, right? Towit, here are a few new proposed taglines for this venerable government institution:
The IRS: a nice place for nice people to work!
The IRS: what does Ron Paul know anyway?
The IRS: somebody has to take our money . . .

Let me know if you come up with something better!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Mesa AZ Jr High Declared No-Hug Zone

Okay, now you've read it all. According to a newspaper article, about 400 of 1200 kids surveyed at Shepherd Jr High in Mesa "were concerned about public kissing and hugging in the hall." So apparently the school rolled out a new rule against hugging even though "The rule had been in the student handbook previously." I guess I'd like to see this survey. Was that an open ended question on "What concerns you at our school?" Fill in the blank, with a line after it? Was it multiple choice? (circle all that apply)...

But the best part of the story was a run-down of acceptable displays, copied here for the edification of all. The list of acceptable public displays are:
• Stopping and talking in the halls (but moving to the side to allow others to pass).
• Shaking a friend's hand and patting him on the back in a "man hug"
• Draping an arm around someone's shoulder in a "hook hug"
• Holding hands
• Linking arms
• Hugging no longer than 2 seconds
• Respecting other people's opinions and values

First, I must admit I learned a great deal about hugs and hug names (eg the allowed "man hug" and "hook hug") and I regret that the list doesn't include the leaning in "A-frame hug" for people who don't really like each other, or hugging.
Second, I am curious and dismayed about what "displays of affection" in a junior high led to 400 kids expressing concern and the subsequent hug ban.
Most important, what is going on with these kids and the adults in charge of them? How about a policy that encourages them to make good decisions about their behavior? With a description of acceptable hugs this specific, the administration is surely fostering one kind of critical thinking -- encouraging kids to find loopholes. Maybe this incident will produce a few good trial attorneys out of Shepherd Jr High...
Click here for the original article.