Friday, December 13, 2013

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Inclusive Holiday Greeting Card

Trying to tweak a greeting card concept:
All the people(s) of the world unite...
To celebrate (rejoice in?) the return of the light.

We did something like this years ago--will try to find the images. Obviously Demetrius is my go-to guy for graphics, but I'd appreciate any help with the wording.


Ages ago, our ancestors, cold and fearful for their very survival, watched the winter skies for signs of the sun's return.

Each winter, we are still reminded that even in dark times, hope is waiting to be reborn inside each of us.

And just as the flame of one candle ignites another, so does hope become stronger and more brilliant as it spreads from one heart to another...until a better world is not a distant hope but a reality we have the power to create together.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Inter-species territory dispute

Winnie: Uh, excuse me. This is MY crate. Also, maybe you're not aware of this, but around here, I'm what's known as the "alpha".

Maddie: Yes, but you're the alpha DOG. As a cat, I'm not actually under your jurisdiction. I looked it up.

Winnie: Oh. I didn't realize. Well, I'm too tired to argue anyway. I guess we can share.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Happy Discount Chocolate Day

Friendly reminder for folks who eat candy--especially chocolate don't forget to go out and buy discount chocolate:

 It may be hard to find that section in the store among all the Christmas stuff. But I suspect "Halloween" candy does not suddenly expire and become inedible on November 1...

Friday, October 25, 2013

Madonna or Madeline?

After calling this kitty Maddie, Madness, and Mad (right after her flea treatment), yesterday morning I was calling her and "Madeline" just kind of slipped out. So...

Thinking about changing my 1 year old cat's name to Madeline. (Bit of a refresher/background--I adopted her as an 11 week old kitten in January and she CAME with the name Madonna. The name always felt a tad awkward, but I didn't have any better ideas at the time.) Can still call her Maddie or whatever else springs from my lips at a given moment. LITERALLY no other human in the household cares, or even calls her by name. So, no help here, and I am REALLY undecided. Input please.

Addendum: For some reason I resisted calling her "Maddie" for a long time, and it still doesn't quite trip off the tongue. If Daughter had been a second son instead, I liked the name Matthew, but not Matt. Also, I did enjoy the Madeline books...

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Operant Conditioning Lecture

Wow--this took an unbelievable number of attempts before I finally got it to work. Can you say "technical difficulties"?

Link to Rat Basketball Tutorial
Link to "How to Toilet Train Your Cat

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Classical Conditioning Lecture (Take 1)


Although I am not currently teaching psychology in an official (paid) context, I did devote a sizable chunk of my adult life to both learning and teaching this subject. I am loathe to let all of that learning go to waste, and also would hate to see my skills and knowledge base in this area erode.

So, I decided to create some video presentations. Maybe they will end up being helpful as "supplementary resources" for psychology students and instructors. This first attempt did not turn out as "clean" and "polished" as I really would have liked, but just finishing the presentation and converting it into video format proved much more daunting than I ever imagined. Mainly because my laptop kept crashing without warning while the PowerPoint was being converted into a video. I'm sure this will become easier, and the process with go more smoothly with practice.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

May it please the court...

So, I'm on a nursery rhyme/kiddie lit kick lately. I blame this phenomenon on the impending 18th birthday of my younger child.

One thing I notice about nursery rhymes is that many of them tend to be of counting-down genre similar to "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall"...Five little monkeys jumping on the bed, three little angels all dressed in white...  But shorter, for the shorter attention span of little children. And minus the alcohol. Still, looking at these songs today, I think that maybe teachers of preschool and kindergarten were desperate to find ways to kill time.

Anyway, about those angels "trying to get to heaven on the end of a kite". Why were angels forced to resort to such crude methods in an ultimately vain attempt to get into heaven? Had they been cast out of heaven? And if so, why?

There are serious theological questions here.

I have learned this week that in the version of "5 Little Monkeys" that many people learned, the physician Mama consulted never actually uttered the words "That's what you get for jumping on the bed!"

If you've never heard that version and think I'm making this up, all you have to do is enter that quote into Google.  Such a version exists. According to one source, the doctor says "No more monkeys jumping on the bed!" after the first four monkeys have incurred traumatic head injuries, and only says "That's what you get for jumping on the bed!" after the final monkey has fallen.

Dramatic music sting.

However, when I went to kindergarten, it was "that's what you get" for the first four monkey casualties, and concluded with "no more monkeys jumping on the bed" only after the last one. Pretty much stating the obvious.

By the way, as it happens, when I was two years old, I sustained a head injury from jumping on the bed, falling off, and hitting my head on the wall. I needed stitches.  I guess what I am saying here is that I have personal reasons for thinking that the doctor who said "that's what you get..." was a jackass who should have lost his license.

But I come before you today to discuss the case of the Three Little Kittens. I find their mother's parenting strategies troubling. To wit:

Three little kittens,
Put on their mittens,
And soon ate up the pie;
“Oh, mother dear,
We greatly fear
Our mittens we have soiled.”
“What! Soiled your mittens,
You naughty kittens!”

May it please the court...surely Mama Cat, aka "mother dear", as the responsible adult in the household, should have seen the flaw in her plan to require her children to wear mittens while eating pie. Especially if that pie was, say, blueberry. She is in no position to call them naughty, as she has clearly set them up to fail.

According to the nursery rhyme, the mother seems prone to mood swings and is unfamiliar with the concept of unconditional love. Couple that with her seemingly arbitrary rules regarding pie-eating etiquette, and it's hard to foresee a future for these kittens that does NOT involve intensive therapy.