Jumped the Synapse: Thoughts without sponsors!

These are my thoughts that don't fit in my other blogs. They'll eventually cover a large range of topics.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The six phases of a project

The six phases of a project
  1. Enthusiasm
  2. Disillusionment
  3. Panic
  4. Search for the guilty
  5. Punishment of the innocent
  6. Praise and honours for non-participants

... another random musing

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Graffiti and Trash: Cleanin' up the Neighbourhood

Spend part of yesterday afternoon walking around the neighbourhood (man it was hot!) picking up trash. Collected about 1/2 a full-sized black garbage bag full. Lots of litter that came from McDonald's, Wendy's, Tim Horton's, 7-11, etc. Drink containers and snack wrappers is the big thing.

Also found a young woman's wallet that she'd lost the night before. She was quite thankful when I phoned her - thought she'd never find it.

Cleaning this up also inspired me to head out with a painbrush and some old lime green indoor paint and cover up some graffiti around here.

All told, I cleaned up about 12 city blocks or more, one way or another. It felt good.

... another random musing

Friday, July 21, 2006


These are taken from resumes and cover letters that were printed in the July 21, 1997 issue of Fortune magazine. The spelling is exactly the way it appeared in the magazine:


10. Let's meet, so you can 'ooh' and 'aah' over my experience.

9. Received a plague for Salesperson of the Year.

8. I procrastinate, especially when the task is unpleasant.

7. I have become completely paranoid, trusting completely no one and absolutely nothing.

6. It's best for employers that I not work with people.

5. Reason for leaving last job: They insisted that all employees get to work by 8:45 am every morning. Could not work under those conditions.

4. The company made me a scapegoat, just like my three previous employers.

3. Note: Please don't miscontrue my 14 jobs as 'job-hopping'. I have never quit a job.

2. Wholly responsible for two (2) failed financial institutions.

1. References: None. I've left a path of destruction behind me.

... another random musing

How to Get Along with People: 12 tips

Getting Along with People

1. Start every conversation in a friendly way. Wouldn’t you like to be approached in that way?
2. Use a positive, soothing tone of voice. Studies show that tone of voice is the most important predictor in how well or poorly a conversation will go.
3. Maintain positive or neutral facial expressions and body posture. Studies show this is the second-most important factor in positive communications. Smile!
4. Listen first, speak second. This saves time and avoids misunderstandings. “Leaders listen” is the old expression.
5. Think about your request from the other person’s point of view. Show what you’re asking of them benefits them in some way.
6. Respect others by keeping an open mind and listening to them fully and thoughtfully before replying.
7. Use “I” statements, instead of “You” statements. “I” statements let the other person know how you’re feeling, while “You” statements point fingers of blame.
8. Find common ground in problems and then try hard to problem-solve in a cooperative way. Don’t back people into corners where they can’t save face.
9. Avoid negative, extreme and confrontational words. Get rid of habits of using words and expressions like “never”, “always”, “bad”, “mean”, “that’s garbage”, etc. Instead, seek to make the same point, but from the opposite direction, pointing to positive behaviours, and using positive language.
10. Don’t start or participate in gossip. It’s harmful, and people who gossip can’t be trusted not to gossip about you.
11. Make promises sparingly, and keep them faithfully, no matter the cost.
12. Regularly review your own behaviour. Without regular review, we’ll be slow to consistently use the above suggestions. Specifically imagine changing the conversation that went bad to one that went good – which of the above noted suggestions will you use next time, and at what point in the conversation? Regular review of this type will result in rapid improvement.

... another random musing

Hockey Tips and Hockey SKills

These are things I want to do, when I play hockey


· Always turn to look behind me as I go to collect the puck
· As soon as I pass the puck, quickly look to see where the other players are on the ice.


· Pull the puck in towards me when in trouble along the boards
· Use the strong, but controlled, stick-lift when appropriate.
· When in trouble near the front of the net (and opposition is coming towards me), quickly pass the puck to the corner and move swiftly to collect it from there.
· Just before the quick stick-lift in front of the net, figure out how to quickly get to where the puck goes (eg, usually into the corner)
· Do not allow opposition players to deke you along the blue line- keep moving back – force them wide.
· Close the gap as the opposition seeks to cruise through the slot.
· After I’ve swept the puck off the opposition stick, then play the man – not the puck!
· Quickly close the gap when the opposition goes to shoot.


· When fairly close to an opposition player, and the passing play exists, pass close to their skates and between their stick.
· When being pressured in the defensive zone, and the play exists, turn back deeper in the zone to create more time and options.
· When in trouble near the front of the net (and opposition is coming towards me), quickly pass the puck to the corner and move swiftly to collect it from there.
· For a flat pass, keep my stick along the ice when passing.
· For a lob pass, lift the stick as completing the pass.
· When taking a pass, move into towards the centre of the ice, to give myself more options to move either in or out, after receiving the pass.


· Point feet to create a good puck deflection when a pass is heading into my skates.
· Keep feet moving when going to shoot on a rush – fools the goaltender.
· Keep skates along boards when puck is coming quickly towards me in that area.


· When in own zone, and along the side boards or in the corner, stickhandle the puck back and forth to create more time to pass.
· Cradle the puck (ie curve the top of blade in a downwards fashion) just before making a hard pass.


· Be patient in the offensive zone when along the point – look for the play or the quick shot in front of the net.
· Do not pass the puck blindly into the slot when leading the rush and forced to go around the net – if no one is there then make the big circle out between the blue line and face-off dot – look for a good shooting position.


· Keep long shots low along the ice – more goals scored and more chances for rebounds.
· Do not pass the puck blindly into the slot when leading the rush and forced to go around the net – if no one is there then make the big circle out between the blue line and face-off dot – look for a good shooting position.
· Look for the twine - behind the goalie - when shooting.

... another random musing

Getting Kids Unstuck - Dr. Gordon Neufeld

Getting Kids Unstuck - Dr Gordon Neufeld - Notes of cassette 4 –

The best chance for change comes from inner change. Stuck children need help getting unstuck. Although they can “trip over a trauma” helping them to get unstuck, this is rare. Although it’s sad, we can’t treat our children the same: stuck and unstuck (eg normal) kids are not the same.

Remember that one child’s medicine is another child’s poison!

A. Preparation
Dr. Neufeld typically spends the most time with parents getting them prepared, because we can’t trust our usual instincts.
· We are our kids best bet
· Always keep the goal in mind: the goal is to soften the child up - decrease the shell, reduce the hardening
· Be intuitive as to what works, and keep the goal in mind, and you’ll find that some interactions work and others don’t. Don’t try to strategize too far in advance; Dr. Neufeld often finds things fall apart there. Be pragmatic instead.
· Don't get distracted by the individual problems - the surface layer. Although the problems and symptoms can present differently, they are coming from a similar root place. Always aim at the heart of the matter.
· Don't interact from a hard place in your heart - find a soft place you can act from - a place where your own eyes water. This is the place to interact from. You can be quite firm, yet soft.
· Keep the child's limitations in mind - we've got to accept where the child is and don't expect it to be otherwise. This is really important. Don’t expect a stuck 12 year old to act like they’re 12. They really aren’t. Accept them where they are, where history with them has shown them to be.
· Adjust your own internal expectation so you can stop harping at what doesn’t work.
· Help them get from mad to sad.
· Change circumstances and structures, rather than continuously demanding behaviour from them.
· If they want to hit, throw, attack, slam doors, scream, etc - start to channel this energy and help direct it. Remember that this is what their brain is telling them to do. So since you can’t fight nature, you need to work with it. If they want to throw, then you need to help them do that. You come and tell them to hit/throw - this helps to buy time and it helps to bond with them. Always start with the same verb (hit, throw, bite, whatever). If you work with the same verb, then you can have some influence over the subject (ie You need to throw this at that right now!)
· Always counteracting their will/desire is ineffective, and it increases their defendedness.
· Put up a wall of futility only when you have the time, strength, energy, to do it.
· Keep your own limitations in mind: don't always try and stay on top of the inappropriate behaviour. Distract them if you don’t have the energy – do other things.
· Whenever you feel it's urgent (to address inappropriate behaviour), that is probably not the time to act. Rarely will you be pleased with the outcome. This is the time to put yourself "in neutral" - just buy time. "We'll talk about it later". Wait until your own emotions are in check and then deal with it as appropriate. Come back to it later.
· Our insights are important to help us adjust and to understand what will work and what won’t. These insights include:
1. The child is stuck
2. The child is insatiable
3. The child is non-adaptive
4. The child is not capable of ambivalence
5. The child is defended - keep defendedness in mind. If you don’t keep this in mind, you’ll always engage defendedness. We ourselves usually “go ballistic” when we think we aren’t being listened to/don’t have influence.
· Tone of voice is most important in avoiding engaging defendedness. When we realize child is defended, then we’ll rein in our own emotions, lower our voice and increase our proximity to the child.
· Let futility sink in - our futility that nothing much works. Choices don't work, because they are used to avoid things. Consequences don't work, because they don’t sink in. Withdrawal of privileges don't work (child detaches from them). Talk doesn't work (because child tunes out). Sanctions don't work (because they increase defendedness). Negative feedback doesn't work because child is defended against it. Isolation and separation may work, but for reasons that backfire.
· Be aware of our own futility - tears must come to realize it ourselves. Then your own energy will change. Then our own adaptive response becomes engaged and you can begin working from a soft place.
B. Jockeying into a working position
- As much as possible, everything must be done when the child's attachment instincts are engaged.
- That's nature's way; without that, very little can be accomplished. Get the connection - otherwise there's no hope.
(a) Get inside the relationship with the child (Use wooing instincts if needed. Wooing includes getting in their face/attention in a friendly way. We do this naturally with infants and when courting.)
(b) Use touch if possible - attachment instincts become engaged.
(c) Surprise with warmth and initiative
(d) Act as their compass point - tell them where you're going to be - invite their dependency, make it safe when they're stuck - help with things they request help with. This is a tactical retreat to much earlier in the relationship. They should be counting on you, not on peers with whom they have to project invulnerability.
(e) Keep connected - greetings and good-byes - lots and lots. Little notes etc. Stuck kids are not ready for normal peer interaction – they should only be around the adults that are in charge of them (as much as possible). They are either excessively attracting or repelling peers. Encourage dependency on you. Later on, the more secure they feel, the more they’ll start venturing forth.
· Always work to the relationship before you make a request of them - always engage attachment - always work inside of that. “Posture” is very important; always connect with them first (a minute or so), before making even simple requests. Don’t come to them out of the blue with your request. Connect, connect, connect.
· When there are incidents, get outside of the incident to begin working on it. Treat incidents as accidents and don't do your work there.
· Use discipline sparingly because it doesn't work.
· Come alongside the child as much as possible - they need to have a sense that you are for them and not against them. Focus on their frustration (which needs to be permitted), not their aggression (which can’t be permitted). Focus on their intentions rather than their achievements.
· When appropriate, help them hit the wall of futility; ie when you have the time, control and energy – and they need something from you and their outcome is not desirable. But, even then, be with them, rather than against them if possible, ie inappropriate behaviour might result in both of you going to her room. You are trying to change the situation or structure, without trying to “teach them a lesson”.
· Bring the child on-side as much as possible.
· Due to defendedness, don't suggest that the child is a problem, only that they have a problem. It make it difficult for them to gain distance, perspective on themselves then. Try to take things to a “one-step removed” analogy.
· Cut them slack - suspend normal operations. Distract them when you don't have the energy to face head on (for the wall of futility). You may distract in these circumstances, simply to impose order on the situation. Buy time – you don’t want to waste all of your energy there. Don't deal with them while still inside the incident.
· Preserve relationship when there is no hope; because without the relationship, their can be no progress.
· Solicit their good intentions; this brings the child on-side and also you (because you change your thoughts towards the child to be more loving and friendly). But don't have expectations on the basis of their good intentions - that would be cruel. Thinking this way helps you to become their coach, instead of their prosecutor.

In his own children, two things Dr. Neufeld always uses in his own interactions. He uses these the most as they are relationship-based:
1. Always increase proximity, rather than decrease it. It increases their attachment and makes them want to be good for you.
2. Always try in the next day or so following the incident to move back and solicit the good intention. i.e. to greet someone nicely, to be polite, etc.
· The crux, the key point, is to soften the child.
Just like the story of the north and south wind who are both trying to get someone to remove their clothing [ie their shell], people do not defend against warmth. Be warm.
· Tricks do not work. You can sometimes pound or trick through defences, but usually the defendedness is subsequently increased over the longer-term. The mind must be gently coaxed to change – it will not do so in a threatened environment.
· Create a shame-free atmosphere at home - absolutely no teasing to make someone feel as if there's something wrong with them. He has huge long talks in his family if this occurs and will solicit an intention from all concerned. No teasing for awkward phrasing, etc. They need an atmosphere where they can let it out and be vulnerable.
· Take the lead and drop your own guard - share your vulnerability' we can't be hard and expect them to be vulnerable. You can’t come across as a cold hard detached person, come from a place of hardness. Share some things that show your vulnerability.
· Always acknowledge the courage it takes to admit vulnerability - ie to an "I'm scared", you might respond by saying that a lot of people won't even admit that, that takes a lot of courage to say that, etc. Reverse it so that vulnerability is recognized, encouraged (perhaps even celebrated). Remember that peer culture rewards invulnerability.
· Avoid indulging defences (if you can); eg tuning out, tuning out with television, etc. You can’t stop “letting them get away with it”, because the behaviour is so deep-rooted, but you can stop the brain from not attending to it. The difference is is when there is a connection with the child (eg after supper, or sometime else when warmth exists) we can’t get away with not looking at it. Gently tell them that we need to talk about it (the situation that existed previously). Even if there’s not much response on their part, they still have to deal with it. Make sure you acknowledge their frustration.

Two Big Things:

· Reflect their experience and expressions back to them, but in a more vulnerable way. If he says, “He’s stupid, I don’t want to play with him anyway” you have to see that below that there’s a woundedness, a hurt. Just try to turn it back to them, just a little bit, “You weren’t pleased with what happened.” Don’t try to figure out what happened, what their story is/was, and don’t counteract them. You are saying to their brain that they can take this a bit more vulnerably and still be OK.

· Just seek out the vulnerability in the situation and turn it back to them, just ¼ of a turn. Always trying to move it a bit, letting their brain know that they can experience it a bit more vulnerable. But if you turn it back to them too far, too directly, then all you’ll get is denials. Go slow, you want to keep them with you. You can use this scores of times a day. What you are trying to do is to gently touch the bruises, the little hurts, without provoking defensiveness. Use the littlest bruises to reach softening. People usually go too fast with this. And also don’t go witch-hunting for their stories. Don’t have to find out what the issue is, just use the process to advance vulnerability.

· You are trying to manually tune their brains in to what they are automatically trying to tune out, or defend against.
· You don’t have to work with what happened at school or the park etc., because there are usually lots of incidents daily – with siblings, with homework, the pet, the toy broke, “it’s stupid”, whatever.

· The whole enemy to the brain is the vulnerability – so you do nothing that would consciously alert the brain to vulnerability such as “Oh, that must have upset you”. When you speak, you avoid direct eye contact, you avoid an emotional voice. Try to connect alongside/beside the child (both physically and metaphorically speaking) – ensure that the attachment is there. If you can feel the attachment, then you gently touch the bruise – an incidental contact, and you quickly move on. i.e If Cindy didn’t want to play with them today, you might say “Oh that was hard, Cindy didn’t want to play. Can you pass me the ketchup, please.” We are seeking to tune in their brain. We don’t ask questions, we don’t ask how they are feeling. We are trying to melt the defences from the inside out, rather than hammering them from the outside. No bleeding heart in your voice. IF the child indicates vulnerability (hurt), then you can move to the next level of concern (“Ouch” and perhaps place your arm around them), but don’t move there on your own without the clue from them.
· You are reversing the process in the brain to tune out – slowly and gently. There is no way to harm the child using this method. Try to bring things to them “one step removed”. You are trying to get softness and sensitivity back into them.
· You must see movement from mad to sad before you begin trying to erect the wall of futility. Always move slowly – most parents move too fast.
· You must touch with your voice/with your warmth
· Stop focussing on what’s wrong. Focus on vulnerability/softness.

If you have softening (and only if), then you can move to letting futility sink in.

· Futility is erecting a wall that they can’t go through.
· You never move towards that if you aren’t seeing mad go to sad at times. (Spontaneous tears is one good sign that child is moving from mad to sad)
· Melt defences first; always the first step.

The goal is to hold the child in the experience of futility, until it sinks in. Hold them by words, in attention, in experience – that you keep putting it back into their face, that the thing didn’t work for them. The restorative part is that when futility sinks in, it increase ego strength. The brain stops armouring the child; the adaptive response begins to awaken.

If you have the energy to take this on (ie holding them in futility) there must be no backing down, do not react to the aggression, you must stay firm so that they can move from mad to sad. Things can get ugly sometimes, because you’re in a highly provocative situation, they can get foul and aggressive, but it’s important t to go all the way, without reacting to their aggression. No lecturing, no problem-solving, discussion of consequences, no rescuing, no putting it into perspective, no changing the subject, etc.

Foil their attempts to avoid and escape. Always bring it right back into their face – do not allow them to avoid. “I know this is hard for you to accept”. We want to let it sink in. Be firm, but with warmth possible – you can offer some sadness in your voice, but always bring the experience back to them. The wall of futility must be there. You can sometimes prime sadness with sadness in your voice, if they aren’t too defended against. So do this privately, not in front of the other kids; you need the maximum control you can get.

· Touch as gently as possible until the tears start coming; that’s when they become unstuck. If we can do this, nature will do the rest.
· IF this is not working, then back up, retreat, to prior steps, mainly softening. THE GOAL IS ALWAYS TO SOFTEN THE CHILD.
· Foil defences against vulnerability.
· Be their therapist to help them experience the frustration – this will help them get unstuck – do not do all the substitutions. Commit the hour to building the wall of futility when appropriate [when you have the time, energy, mental and emotional balance].

... another random musing



Go placidly amid the noise and haste and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story .

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have the right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be. And whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

By poet Max Ehrmann - 1927.

... another random musing

Computer Rules for Kids

Computer/Internet/Chat Rules

1. What Mom or Dad says goes – even if it changes one of the rules below!
2. Younger daughter and eldest daughter only to use hall computer – bedroom computer may be used by special permission only.
3. Computer use times: TBA
4. No inappropriate language – those using such language will be banned from the computer for at least one week.
5. No inappropriate web-sites, etc.
6. No giving out any personal information on the internet/chat etc. – for example, name, age, sex, location, etc.
7. No “dissing” people – it hurts people and damages them and you. Some people have committed suicide from being slammed by people on the internet. You’re better people than that. Keep it so!
8. No down-loading any files without permission, no smiley faces, no toolbars, etc. whatever.
9. No file-swapping ([music, for instance] various files are often loaded with viruses, and I can be arrested for stealing if the file is copyright).
10. No opening any email attachment, unless you’ve talked to your friend by chat or on the phone and they’ve said they’re sending it to you.
11. Except for the occasional complaint about how strict your Mom and Dad are about the internet, email, chat, etc., you should only say or write anything you wouldn’t mind having your parents, your teachers, any one of your friends read, or seeing it on the front page of the newspaper. If you would be embarrassed having it any one of those places, then don’t say it; don’t write it.
12. Parents may monitor any of the above, at any time.
13. Anyone using the computer expressly agrees to these rules. Otherwise, if you do not agree, then do not use the computer.

... another random musing

Camping List

Camping List

Tents etc

Tent & Fly
Tarp & Poles
Tent Pegs
Sleeping Bags
Air Mattresses
Camping Lights (check battery power & for extra mantles)
Life Jackets
Hammer & Pliers

Car & Games Stuff
Games, magazines & books
Cards, crib board
Pre-prepared chamomile tea

Dishes, etc
- In container -
cutting knives - 2
table cloth
pots & pans
plates, utensils, big spoon
coffee pot
fry pan

- Other -
water carrier
tea towel
check dish soap
garbage bags

swim suits
wash cloth
eye wear & care
suntan lotion
aloe spray
First Aid
general clothes
after sun

Block/crushed/cube ice
Roller blades
Fishing rods
water guns

Generic Menu & Food
Sugar & whitener
mayo, mustard, ketchup, pickles, etc
jam, peanut butter
hot dogs
milk (& soya milk)
pasta & tomato sauce
zoodles or similar
chamomile tea
BBQ sauce

... another random musing

Eulogy for Lawrence Russell Tippie

Mr. Lawrence Russell Tippie
June 24, 2003
By Mr. Fred Tippie

Thank you, Reverend Hoskin. Good afternoon to everyone. I am Lawrence's son, Fred Tippie and I welcome you to this Service and Celebration of Dad's Life. On behalf of my mother, Elizabeth and sisters, Marne, Sharon, Carol and Kathy, I want to thank you for coming short and long distances to show your love and respect for the dearly departed head of the Tippie family. I hope you have been able to read the touching obituary that mother composed. What a fine job she did!

I especially want to welcome the grandchildren and let them know that their grandfather did pass peacefully. Dad had class and there was no anger, shouting, whimpering or recriminations.

Dad loved song lyrics. "Sleepy Time Gal" -"Please Remember This, A Kiss Is Just A Kiss" -"Love Laughs At A King; Kings Don't Mean A Thing On The Street Of Dream" -"Dream When You're Feelin' Blue" He could sing continuously his repertoire without repetition to Calgary and back or Kalamazoo or Timbuktu and back...

Now I'd like to read some of the words to a song called "The Heart" by Kris Kristofferson:

"My Daddy was a charmer, boys, he had a lot of style. He was the shining best at everything he did.
Said that he could lighten up a room with just a smile. I was proud as hell to be his kid.
Seems like just as we were growing close together, he was gone but it was long enough to show what I could be
and I sometimes feel his spirit fill my body; like a song and this is what my daddy sings to me. The heart is all that matters in the end."

And my dad, Lawrence, had a big heart right to the end. When my son, Brett and I popped into his hospital room little more than a week ago - he reared his head, smiled broadly and exclaimed "Well! Look who's here!" Soon we were engaged in conversation and he wanted to know how we were and where we'd been. He talked about Brett's career, the Stanley Cup, wondered if I had put on a couple of pounds or had gone into too much debt lately. He then made a humorous reference to the bald heads of powerful people that made us all laugh.

Dad was born in 1918 and grew up just in time for the depression of the 1930's. These were different and difficult times in spite of the 5 cent meals he liked to recall. He bravely rode the boxcars with many other young men of that day and could describe cold nights in Ashcroft, B.C. and rainy days in Winnipeg, far from his Alberta farm home.

Because of his good manners and likeable personality, other hoboes encouraged him to forage food from people who had denied them. Over the years, Dad would often quote Oliver Twist: "Please sir, may I have some more".

Dad understood kids. He said although they lacked power, their perceptions were clear. When Grandpa Jesse would give us underwear and socks, Dad would tell him to buy things for their minds and souls, as well as bodies. His attitude helped me a lot in my school teaching career. He had a fine sense of occasion and bought his full share of ball gloves, boutonnieres, perfumes and bouquets of flowers.

He knew what was appropriate and turned over his shotgun to the R.C.M.P., donated significant antiques to the Provincial Archives and directed family heirlooms to the right relatives. He was a man who knew how to keep Christmas well. He had a gift for giving good gifts and knew how to wrap them to. As kids, we had to learn to distinguish "Snickle Fritz", Pootwoddle" and good and bad "Foofers".

Dad loved to travel and before taking us places we'd hear him singing "Flagstaff Arizona, Don't Forget Winona, Barstow and San Bernadino" -"Sioux City Sue" and "Oklahoma City is Mighty Pretty". Dad seemed never to lose his directions, travelers cheques or forgot addresses and prices of things. He was not fond of telephones and thought coffee and radios had no place in cars. He loved airplane rides from 1930 open-cockpits, to Russian Illushin Jets to - more recently - helicopter swoops over the Queen Charlotte Islands in his 70's.

Dad enjoyed funny jokes and gentle wit. This made him great company. His friend, Alex Campbell once offered Dad a business calendar grandiosely. Said Did: "I'll have to first see it. I may not want it". He could hold his own with Kathy's Irish/Aussie friends and any of my friends. My wife, Bridget remembers her father-in-law as a very fair man who tried hard to make welcome his in-laws and talk interestingly about their interests and concerns. He loved fun and games from "She The Old Pony, Shoe- The- Old Mare.. ..Let Little Jakes' Foot Go Bare!" to whisker rubs and serious bridge games. He pretended to endure family canasta matches. He liked all sports from horse shoes to football. He was competitive, analytical and informed.

Dad read voraciously and everything from "Ring" and "Downbeat" magazines to Cervantes and Victor Hugo. He once called himself a "Fellow Trollopian". He probably had read Martin Chuzzlewit six times and could give you precise dates of his readings. He was a teacher and loved to talk books.

Dad was a passionate man who reacted intensely to post office mail, great tales, haunting melodies, bonfires, cats, thunderstorms and blizzards. He was fascinated by weather and skies all his life, Sharon said. I remember muskrat hunting with dad. We'd sleep quietly in a hill hollow until the wind went down and then explode excitement when he saw something move. He had such a lively nervous system!

He was especially curious about old things -coins, stamps, jewelry, maps, documents, bottles and tools. In his Antique Shop, he cared more that people listened and learned about his objects than making a sale. I thought sometimes he operated a kind of a Free Public Museum. He knew his stuff. He really was an expert gardener and thought gardens "Heavenly Things". He gave me the hoe he purchased from MacLeod's Store in 1939, the year he was married. Hoes and rain gauges.

Jack Lamden and Jimmy Wilson were two of Dad's best friends. Jim always called Dad "Lawrency" -A nickname I never used. Dad had pen pals in New Zealand, New York and Estonia. He corresponded with the Postmaster of Romantic Pitcairn Island. He entertained Pat Boone and Gordie Howe in his Stamp Shop. Dad disdained the sanctimonious and priggish. He could keep a secret. Who shot him in the leg as a teenager? How much money was in his pocket as he walked by Charlie Russell's place? Still, he said that anyone could read his Diaries and not be offended. In the end, he had no secrets.

My father was a husky, proud and able man who boxed, fixed machinery, tied tight shoelaces, drove a tractor, pitched hay, chopped wood, pounded fence posts, dug fall-out shelters and ran very fast footraces. 0n June 9, 1943, (my birthday) he walked from Endiang to Stettler to visit his new son. We remember the hard work he did for us -working the land, cleaning calf sheds, weening pail bunters, picking potatoes, sorting saskatoons (which he liked), making fences, hauling coal, etc., etc., etc.

He was intelligent and independent. I remember a few of his epigrams:

"Look around; see everything there is to see"
"On report cards, comments are more important than Letter Grades; I EXPECT good grades".
"Art is anything that is finely done".
"Finish every job you start".
"Keep your workplace clean".
"Relax, a bus comes by every 5 minutes".
"If you live long enough, you're bound to catch something".
"It's easy to live a long life, just select parents who lived long lives".
"Everyone has done things they're ashamed of'.
"Be proud of your origins".
"Time waits for No man".
"Immortality is in our children".
"Even the grass needs a rest".

Dad was bravely stoical about things he couldn't see changing and this showed in the still way he held his patrician head and just looked at you. As a younger man, he'd say: "Ham Fam Fiddle Faddle with a hole in it" "Ishkabibble, I should worry" or just start whistling under his breath.

As we celebrate this long life, we realize he celebrated ours so many years before. Because he was so unique, he appreciated the uniqueness of others and showed it so generously in thought and action.

Gone is a wonderful father, husband, grandfather and friend. I'll miss hanging onto the sturdy hammer strap on his overalls. Carol says we'll hear his laughing voice forever. Kathy says he made us and our children feel secure. Marne, who knew him longest, sounded so sad when I speak to her.

Dad always told us kids to try to be people that others want to have around. He's remembered at Victoria Park, as a kind, patient and caring person. We're trying to be your kind of person, Dad!

... another random musing

Raising Kids: Two Very Important Ideas to Help

“Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand it’s own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out. If you love someone you will always be loyal to him, no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him and always stand your ground in defending him.

All the special gifts and powers from God will someday come to an end, but love goes on forever… There are three things that remain –faith, hope and love – and the greatest of these is love.”
- 1 Corinthians 13

The Golden Rule
“Treat others as you want them to treat you…. Never criticize or condemn – or it will all come back on you. Go easy on others; then they will do the same for you. For as you give, so will you get! Your gift will return to you in full and overflowing measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use to give – large or small – will be used to measure what is given back to you.”
- Luke 6

... another random musing

Chore list for kids: Outside Jobs

These are outside jobs suitable for children of various ages.

Inside chores, here, and thoughts on "'Crime' and Punishment" for children, here.

Outside Jobs

1. Set sprinklers up in front
2. Set sprinklers up in back
3. Move sprinklers
4. Mow lawn in front (12+ age)
5. Mow lawn in back (12+ age)
6. Sweep front walk
7. Wash front driveway
8. Wash Mom’s car
9. Wash Dad’s car
10. Vacuum Mom’s car
11. Vacuum Dad’s car
12. Clean windows in Mom’s car
13. Clean windows in Dad’s car
14. Clean all panels in Mom’s car
15. Clean all panels in Dad’s car
16. Sweep &/or scrub decks

1. Rake leaves in front
2. Rake leaves in back
3. Stuff bags with already raked leaves or trimmed branches, etc.
4. Vacuum Mom’s car
5. Vacuum Dad’s car
6. Clean windows in Mom’s car
7. Clean windows in Dad’s car
8. Sweep &/or scrub decks

1. Shovel our walk and tenants walk
2. Shovel our side of the driveway
3. Shovel tenants side of the driveway

... another random musing

Chore list for kids: Inside Jobs

These are inside jobs suitable for children of various ages.

Outside chores, here, and thoughts on "'Crime' and Punishment" for children, here.

1. Sweep (&/or damp mop) basement steps
2. Clean up all papers/scraps in basement
3. Put away all blankets, pillows, etc
4. Put away all play things in the basement (dress up clothes, toys, games, etc.)
5. Dust/damp wipe all surfaces in basement (TV, video, etc, side-tables, etc)
6. Empty all basement trash cans (except kitty litter one)
7. Vacuum carpeted basement areas
8. Sweep concrete basement areas
9. Clean windows inside with cleanser
10. Full clean cat litter-box area (change newspaper, etc)
11. Clean-up or organize black shelves

Main Floor

1. Take all cans and bottles to the garage and place in the proper re-cycle spots
2. Sweep (vacuum) the kitchen floor
3. Damp mop the kitchen floor
4. Load (or unload & dry) the dishwasher
5. Wipe the stove top
6. Wipe all the counter-top
7. Clean off all the counter tops
8. Clean the front of the microwave including control area
9. Clean and organize the telephone area
10. Soapy wipe all lower cupboard door faces
11. Soapy wipe all upper cupboard door faces
12. Soapy wipe the front of the dishwasher and stove
13. Vacuum under the stove (remove drawer) and fridge (remove cover plate)
14. Scrub out the sink with steel wool
15. Clean out cutlery drawer, including wash cutlery holder.
16. Clean and scrub the top of the microwave area
17. Clean out and wipe the four-drawer cupboard panel
18. Remove garbage can and clean the lower right hand side of this area (below the sink)
19. Clean the left-hand side below the sink
20. Wipe and scrub the small white shelf below the sink
21. Tough scrub the kitchen floor on hands and knees with a stiff brush and soapy water

Family Room
1. Fold up blankets
2. Straighten slip covers
3. Dust picture faces
4. Vacuum room
5. Tidy up and soapy wipe coffee table
6. Tidy up and soapy wipe telephone book table
7. Wipe TV and video/DVD faces & tops with damp cloth
8. Tidy up and dust/soapy wipe entertainment unit
9. Clean both windows with window cleaner
10. Dust (soapy wipe) venetian blinds

Dining Room
1. Vacuum room
2. Tidy up and soapy wipe table
3. Tidy up and dust games areas
4. Clean window with window cleaner
5. Dust (or soapy wipe) venetian blinds

Wash Room
1. Clean mirror
2. Clean sink and counter
3. Vacuum floor
4. Damp mop floor
5. Clean outside of toilet bowel/seat/top
6. Clean inside of toilet bowl

Entry area
1. Vacuum area
2. Damp mop area

Living Room
1. Tidy up and dust/soapy wipe coffee & side table
2. Dust (or soapy wipe) keyboard
3. Vacuum room
4. Dust (or soapy wipe) entertainment unit
5. Clean both windows with window cleaner

1. Dust/soapy wipe rail and spindles (including upper hall)
2. Vacuum stairs and landings


Upper Hall
1. Vacuum upper hall

Eldest's Bedroom
1. Clean up/tidy up/vacuum in there!

Younger's Bedroom
1. Clean up/tidy up/vacuum in there!

1. Clean mirror
2. Clean sink & counter
3. Vacuum floor
4. Damp mop floor
5. Clean outside of toilet bowel/seat/top
6. Clean inside of toilet bowl

Mom and Dad’s Bedroom
1. Tidy up the computer desk

1. Fold laundry
2. Empty kitchen garbage and get new bag

1. Sweep concrete floor and carpeted area
2. Tidy up area near games/toys on floor
3. Scrub out garbage cans

... another random musing

Canada's Ports Security a Disgrace

Your recent (2002) articles on the gang-control of our ports scared me, as they should any decent person. Given the gangland intimidation ongoing there, it seems that terrorist-related incidents advancing through our ports are only a matter of time. When, not if!

For the port authorities and the unions to point the finger of blame at others – such as the police – disregards what an inviting target they’ve let the ports become. No rules forbidding gang-related memberships, no rules forbidding employing convicted criminals, no dismissal rules when loads are continually dropped! When 30-40% of the employees are convicted criminals or gang-members, you’ve got to know that the inmates are truly running the asylum. In short, the whole situation shows an appalling lack of leadership.

The union also appears to be insufficiently concerned by this whole disaster in waiting; this criminal element now represents a sizeable “constituency”. Perhaps the honest majority of union members are unable or unwilling to exert sufficient pressure to rid themselves of this element.

Finally, our distracted federal government has absolutely got to focus and concentrate on this. They need to pass “clean port laws”, disallowing criminals and gang-members any employment anywhere near any border trade. They need to give port managers some real tools to clean this up. In the end, if they can’t, then perhaps the unions need to be disbanded and everyone fired, just as Ronald Reagan did with the air-traffic controllers nearly two decades ago. Sometimes a clean start requires drastic measures.

... another random musing

Sale of Reservoir Lake Lots in B.C.

Dear Sirs:

I read with great interest the recent story regarding the possible sale of government-owned reservoir-lake waterfront properties in our region. I recently read an article in one of the Vancouver papers, stating that waterfront property in the area is skyrocketing, with prices increasing 50% or more over last year. I hope that the Liberal government I voted for will live up to its’ principles of good public administration and open government, by allowing the general public to bid on these lots.

This achieves the goal of maximizing revenue to the government, while allowing all its’ citizens the opportunity to own one of these increasingly valuable pieces of property. Or will the government fail this early litmus test of its’ principles, by offering these lots only to existing land renters – and using appraised or assessed values as the basis for pricing? Will this be the beginning of the enrichment of a few individuals and supporters – a la Enron and WorldCom – at the expense of the people at large, and government coffers in particular?

In my opinion, the only acceptable favour which the government can grant to the existing leaseholders is the right to match the highest bidder. Any other favour, such as pricing by appraised or assessed value, and/or sale being offered first to them, holds the stench of a backroom deal and poor management.

I look forward to being given the opportunity – together with my fellow B.C.ers - to bid on these lots in an open and competitive marketplace.

... another random musing

Grow-Ops hurt the community. Here's how ...

Are all law-abiding citizens of this province subsidizing the growing strength of biker and other gun-toting gangs in their $6 billion marijuana Grow-Op drug business?

Let us consider how the law-abiding will subsidize these gangs, in just three inter-related instances: increased rents for existing tenants, inferior economic growth, and declining property values.

Firstly, it is reported that there are an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 grow-ops in Lower Mainland residences (July 2001, Vancouver Sun story). Even if we assume that one-half of these residences are owned by the gangs and their collaborators, this still leaves up to 10,000 residences subject to the damages caused by a grow-operation. How many times will the owner of a residential property willingly suffer the $5,000 to $30,000 in damages commonly reported?

I’d suggest that the majority of them will do so only once, or perhaps twice. After that, a real estate agent will be called to dispose of the property, and promptly. With a dwindling pool of willing landlords, we know by the laws of supply and demand that all rents will begin moving up. We can anticipate the negative spin-off effect on young families and just graduated university students. As the rents move up, some of them will move out of the province with their hard work, and subsidized educations’.

This leads me to the second point regarding inferior economic growth. Not only will B.C. have a reduced pool of talented and youthful labour, but we also have to consider the reduced desirability for entrepreneurs to begin businesses in this province. We also have the specter of top quality managers in large corporations refusing transfers to this province.

Both entrepreneurs and top-quality managers are far-sighted enough to envision at least three effects in the medium term future. This would include the prospect of the various gangs violently battling for monopoly power in the drug scene. Obviously, these job-creating entrepreneurs, managers and their families would rather live in a peaceful and safe province. The probability also exists that these numerically and economically growing gangs will seek to increase their criminal enterprises.

As has happened in other areas, some of these gangsters will threaten to destroy existing businesses or physically harm these small business people, unless “protection” money is paid. Many entrepreneurs may avoid this altogether by starting businesses in a more secure region. Finally, entrepreneurs and managers will see the potential harm for having their children placed directly into a supportive drug culture, and the attendant problems.

Therefore, we can see the possibility for inferior economic growth, and higher than needed tax rates to offset the talent pool leaving, or refusing to come to, this province.

Thirdly, we must consider the effect on property values. I believe that property values will be negatively impacted in three ways. As anyone who has tried to sell a house next to a derelict or unkempt drug property knows, this influence often reduces the sale price, so that the owner of the adjacent properties end up subsidizing the business activities in the drug houses. Also, as the damaged former rental properties enter the market, they can create a downward spiral in a neighbourhood, if the new owners do not quickly restore them to their prior condition.

These dual influences can result in the often overlooked consequence of lower assessed values and, therefore, lower tax revenues to the province. Finally, the upper end of the market may weaken, as talented entrepreneurs, business-owners, and top managers begin leaving the province, thereby providing a chilling “trickle-down” effect in the entire B.C. housing market.

While I believe that the existing laws and enforcement regime have proven to be a failure, I think it’s nonsense to think that this is a benign industry in its present form. The effects I have mentioned are only a partial list of the ways in which this business (in it’s present form) is harming others.

Therefore, I call on both federal and provincial political leaders, to facilitate a mature but expeditious discussion regarding the drug laws and enforcement in both B.C., and Canada. In my view, the discussion needs to be informed by as wide a viewpoint as possible, but with particular emphasis on those who have some first-hand knowledge of the issue. Particular emphasis should be placed on ensuring that the views of judges, police officers and officials, prosecutors, defense lawyers, social workers, drug counsellors, current and former drug users, and business and community leaders are heard.

It’s clear to me that if we don’t begin to discuss and understand this problem, and craft a mature solution fairly soon, we are ceding a good portion of our future to some very bad people.

... another random musing

Proposition 13 Assessments Unfair - Letter to the Editor

Proposition 13 Assessments Unfair

The recent letter by W. Roach (January 4; Assessments based on market values unjust, unnecessary) describes only a very small part of California’s tax picture. He points to an all rosy scenario, where property tax revenues are capped, without any problems in government-delivered services. As the saying goes, however, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

A recent article regarding California in “The Economist” magazine (May 16, 2002) stated that there were “…structural problems with the state’s finances” and pointed to the structure to blame as Proposition 13. It also pointed out that the stock of schools, roads and bridges, built primarily in the 1960s, is “crumbling”, due to infrastructure spending in the bottom tenth of states, and school spending in the bottom third of states. The article summarizes current feelings by saying that “…evidence suggests that the number of people who gain from lower taxes on their homes is getting less important than the rising number of those who fume about their children going to bad schools.”

And bad schools they are: the most recent exams (1998) for reading skills conducted for the National Center for Education Statistics showed that 52% of California grade 4 students were “below basic” skills, placing them in 47th place of 50 states. This, incidentally, tied them with perennially low-income states like Louisiana and Mississippi. Grade 8 students placed not much better in the state’s ranking.

Proposition 13 is unfair in other ways too: for instance, the Public Policy Institute of California calculated that, for the same home, a recent buyer would have to pay nearly four times the property tax compared to someone who’d owned that house since 1975.

Other negative effects have also included the explosion of development cost charges, a cost faced by all buyers of new housing. Also, since business property assessments are not capped, they are paying a greater and greater share of property tax revenues.

Furthermore, the letter-writer’s contention that market value assessments are outdated isn’t supported by facts. More and more countries around the world are modernizing their property tax assessment systems by moving to transparent market value assessments.

In the end, Proposition 13 assessments don’t make sense here in B.C unless you can answer “yes” to the following questions:

· Is it fair that a recent buyer of a home pay four times the tax of someone who’d owned the same home since 1975?
· Is it reasonable to expect businesses to pay a greater and greater share of property taxes?
· Does it seem right that buyers of new homes subsidize existing owners by the inclusion of punitive development cost charges in their housing cost?
· Will B.C.’s long-term economic prospects improve by allowing our infrastructure to crumble?
· Does it make sense to drain our schools of resources so that we end up with a low-quality system like California’s?

... another random musing

Things I love about this world: by youngest child

Things I love about this world

By: youngest child

  • God, because we wouldn’t be here without him
  • CDs, so I have different kinds of music to listen to
  • Ice cream, because I don’t get to eat it often
  • Silly noises that people make
  • Stars to gaze at
  • Being a kid, cause it’s fun
  • Signs to warn you
  • Trees to climb on
  • School, to learn things and not be stupid
  • Different drinks, because they taste good
  • Happiness, so we can enjoy other people
  • Flowers, to make the world beautiful
  • Love, cause we all need love
  • Shopping, because I get to buy fun stuff
  • Sun, so we can enjoy the beach
  • Cars, so we can get there faster, and not always have to walk
  • Newspapers, so we can know what’s happening in the world
  • Nature, so we can explore the world
  • Animals, so we can have a pet to keep us company
  • Sisters to play with
  • Smiling to lighten up other people
  • Beds, so we have something soft to sleep on
  • Smells, so you can experience the smells
  • Babies, cause they’re cute
  • Houses, so you don’t have to live in the cold
  • Mirrors, so you can see what you’re doing
  • Grass, to make the world green
  • Family, because they love us and I love them
(age 10)

... another random musing

Things I love about this world: by eldest child

Things I love about this world

By: my eldest child

  • Laughing, to make people happy
  • The taste of juicy watermelon on a hot day
  • Having snowball fights
  • Beach chairs because they are so relaxing
  • Getting a full night’s sleep
  • The sun to light up our world
  • People, so we never have to be lonely
  • Rain, to make the world prosper
  • When my Dad says, “It’s a good one, write it down.
  • Comfy king-sized beds
  • Living in such a beautiful warm town.
  • My parents, because they love me
  • The exhilarating feel of the ride, “Soaring over California”
  • Flowers, because they smell wonderful
  • The glowing moon in the night
  • Sad weeping willows with droopy branches
  • The colours red and blue
  • Beautiful old brick houses.
  • Bees, but only when they’re at a distance
  • The way my stomach jumps into my throat when the airplane lifts off the ground
  • Earplugs, because they muffle Dad’s awful snoring.
  • Palm trees and the way that they look.
  • Silky PJs
  • Interesting books with a plot that twists and turns
  • That my parents took me to Disneyland and Universal Studios
  • The crashing waves of the beautiful blue Okanagan Lake
  • Making funny fish faces
  • Questions, so we can live in wonder
(age 13)

... another random musing

"Crime" and Punishment for Children

Crime and Punishment
(abbreviated version for parents)

Inside chores, here, and outside chores, here.

In the scheme of child-raising, it must be remembered that punishment and withdrawal of privileges ranks in a lower order, below more positive responses such as:

1. Patience;
2. Keeping things in perspective;
3. Pointing the child in a positive direction;
4. Using positive words, images, and values to move the child away from the undesirable behavior being exhibited;
5. Cajoling (rather than ordering) to move a stuck child;
6. Shared friendships;
7. Relationship building (doing activities together, being emotionally and/or physically “on-side” with the child, etc);
8. Rewards for good behaviour;
9. And so on … (limited only by your imagination)

Having listed a few higher order potential responses there are, however, times when you are either too tired or lazy to engage these ideas or times when, despite the above notions, punishment or withdrawal of privilege is entirely appropriate.

Consider your goal – what are you trying to achieve?
The base standard to always remember here is that your goal is to move the child, particularly an ED (emotionally disabled) child, towards a positive future. In that, it is always helpful to ask yourself a few quick questions before doling out, or even mentioning, any punishment. These questions should include:

1. What am I trying to achieve with this punishment or withdrawal of privilege, in the short term, and in the long-term?
2. Is there a better, higher order method available (rather than punishment) which is likely to achieve similar results?
3. Is this particular punishment or withdrawal of privilege likely to achieve the short term goal? What about the long-term goal?
4. Am I calm enough to make a proper, measured, response to the issue? (If you are raising your voice, or have a strong or persistent negative tone, then the answer is probably “not yet”)

If you can’t answer these questions reasonably, then you probably need to take a “time out” yourself to cool down and think. Persistent failure to answer these questions satisfactorily will almost inevitably result in the long-term diminution of what you claim are your goals with the child. Proceed when you are able to answer these questions satisfactorily.

Consider time-frame, severity, attachment and immediacy
One of the most important things in using punishment or withdrawal of privilege is ensuring that the severity is appropriate. This is so that the child doesn’t lose hope in having some positive outcomes (this may need to be pointed out – ie, “Do these things now and you’ll be able to watch your favourite TV show in one hour”, etc). Without hope on the part of the child, your punishment is likely to be seen as unduly harsh, and may even result in their outright refusal to comply with the punishment or withdrawal of privilege. This serves no one.
Thus, make sure you consider the appropriate time-frame either for punishment/chores, or withdrawal of privileges. This may be:
  • 5 minutes
  • 15 minutes
  • ½ hour
  • One hour
  • Two hours
  • Half a day
  • One full day
  • Two days
  • One week

Anything beyond one week is probably too long. Even one week with an ED child is quite a long time.

Next, consider the attachment to the various item, particularly if it involves a withdrawal of privilege. This must be considered as an important part of the severity of punishment. It is important to remember that ED children will begin to “detach” from things as a defensive mechanism, if they are being controlled by these things. Therefore, effective punishment (particularly when it involves the withdrawal of privilege) is marked by use of a wide and active variety, not using the same old thing time after time (as this will become rapidly ineffective, leaving you with less and less options – which will increase your frustration level!).

Punishment is also usually most effective when it is immediate – not some future happening. This is especially true if it involves a withdrawal of privilege at some future distant point – ie more than two days. ED children have problems understanding future consequences in terms of emotional meaning today – and it also allows them time to detach from the future item – thus lessening it’s importance.

List of alternative punishments or withdrawal of privileges:
Having said all of the above, here is the “frustration guide” to punishment or withdrawal of privilege. Just like the Yellow Pages, let your fingers do the walking:

Chores, etc
· Chores (see chore list, following these sections)

Viewing/Passive Activities
· Traditional “time out”
· Limitation of computer use (could be an amount of time, type of activity [ie MSN chat], or a particular game[s])
· Limitation of Nintendo use
· Limitation of TV time (this can be a general reduction of time allowed to watch, or removal of specific times permitted, or removal of a favourite show)
· TV, Computer, Nintendo: an alternative to removal is requiring certain behaviours in order to earn TV, computer or Nintendo time, ie zero time awarded – all must be earned.

Play/Social Connections etc
· No phone use
· No going to the park
· No playing with certain games/things
· No going out to play
· No visiting friends
· No sleep-overs
· General “grounding”
· Removal of sports activities

Things parents often pay for
· No video rentals
· No junk food purchases made, nor allowed to be eaten (ie chips, pop, slushies, etc.)
· No restaurant meals
· Other?

· Removal of allowance (should relate to items expected to be completed for allowance to be given)
· Repairing/paying for item (good only in certain circumstances)
· Monetary penalties (should have been discussed with child first)
· Removal of some future promise made, ie snowboarding (however, caution is urged here as, unless this possibility was previously expressly discussed with the child, the child will rightly see this as you acting out to a lower moral order – and thus your natural moral authority with the child is diminished!)

... another random musing

What causes ADHD? Poor parenting skills? NO!

What causes ADHD?
This simply isn’t known. However, according to Dr. Harvey Parker, a noted ADHD child psychologist, almost all of the existent evidence points to a neurological or neuro-biological basis for this condition. In other words, it’s not due to bad parenting, an excess of T.V., or video games. He states that …

“There's also strong evidence that ADHD is highly heritable. If you look at twin studies, studies of large samples of identical twins, we see that the likelihood that if one twin has ADHD there's a strong likelihood--90 percent or more--that the other twin is going to have ADHD, even if raised in a different environment.”

He also points out that if you look at studies of adopted children, we see that those ADHD children resemble more their biological parents than they do their adoptive parents in terms of hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention. This means that their environment (i.e. upbringing, surroundings, etc) has less effect on them than their biology does.

... another random musing

What are the academic effects of untreated ADHD

Academic Effects
ADHD has a strong effect on academic achievement. A study published recently in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology (McInnes et al., 2003, 31, 427-433), showed that listening comprehension and working memory are impaired in children with ADHD irrespective of language development. The main finding of this study is that children with ADHD have listening deficits even though they may have adequate language abilities for their age, as measured by standardized language tests. Furthermore, these language problems had not been previously detected in the ADHD children in this study.

Although they comprehended factual details presented to them as well as children without ADHD, they had significantly greater difficulty with more subtle aspects of comprehension such as making inferences and monitoring the accuracy of information presented. This may be one reason why children with ADHD do not struggle as much in early grades, where the information is given more straightforwardly; however, the complexity and more subtle aspects of information presenting may overwhelm the child in later grades. Thus, these children could continue to struggle even if their ADHD was treated effectively, because of other difficulties that were not being addressed.

In another study (S.E. Brock, P.K. Knapp, Journal of Attention Disorders [Vol. 3, 1996, pages 173-185]), reading comprehension levels of Grade four to six students were compared. The study showed that the children with ADHD had lower comprehension, even after ensuring that they possessed similar mechanical skill levels (eg word attack, reading speed, sight reading, etc.) to the control group. This has implications in the ability to understand complex materials, to be able to complete assignments, and to derive meaning from readings.

Most of the studies to date suggest fairly significant academic impairment with two of the three ADHD sub-types, and only limited impairment if the sub-type is strictly of the relatively rare Hyperactivity-Impulsivity type. In one study of 1,077 elementary school-aged children (Baumgaertel A, Wolraich M, Dietrich M.. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 1995;34:629–38), over 63% of children with the inattentive sub-type were reported as failing, or below average, 50% of the combined type, and just 12% of the hyeractive-impulsive type.

Experts have consistently stated that academic outcomes for those with ADHD is below average, and this persists beyond elementary school. One study (Murphy, K. et al [2002] Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 190, 147-157.) illustrated this by comparing two groups of 17-28 year olds. Only 7% of the ADHD group had graduated college, compared with 25% of the non-affected group. This has obvious bearing on the future economic prospects of people with ADHD.
... another random musing

What is ADHD?

ADHD - Better Learning - January 2004

What is ADHD? (or ADD as it used to be called)
According to the U.S. Government’s National Institutes of Health (NIH), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most commonly diagnosed behavioral disorder of childhood. The NIH goes on to say that its core symptoms include developmentally inappropriate levels of attention, concentration, activity, distractibility, and impulsivity. Children with ADHD usually have functional impairment across multiple settings including home, school, and peer relationships. ADHD has also been shown to have long-term adverse effects on academic performance, vocational success, and social-emotional development.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), the standard medical reference, there are three types of ADHD:

1) The Hyperactive Type ~ hyperactivity and impulsivity are the primary characteristics

2) The Inattentive Type ~ inattention is the primary characteristic

3) The Combined Type ~ together hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention.

The diagnostic criteria list nine possible symptoms for each of the first two sub-types, of which at least six of them must be present. These symptoms are related to general distractibility or inability to focus attention, inappropriate activity levels (hyperactivity) relating to the surroundings or task at hand, or a general inability to retrain oneself (i.e. impulsive behaviours).

The definitions further state that these symptoms must have persisted for at least six months, and that they must be present in at least two different settings. Furthermore, some of these elements must have been evident before age seven for a diagnosis of ADHD to be confirmed.

Of the three sub-types, the Combined type is the most-often diagnosed type, while the Hyperactivity-Impulsivity type is described as relatively rare.

For those interested in the specific diagnostic criteria, they can be referenced here: http://lib-sh.lsumc.edu/fammed/intern/adhd.html

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ADHD and food supplements: do they help?

Food supplements -do they help?

In one relatively small pilot study (Richardosn, A., & Puri, B.K. [2002]. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry, 26, 233-239) of 41 eight to twelve-year-old children with dyslexia and elevated ADHD symptoms (although not formally diagnosed with such), showed significant cognitive improvements when children were given a supplement containing various fatty acids known to assist in brain development and functioning. The twelve week study showed impressive results.

Under carefully controlled double-blind conditions, highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFA) supplementation with a combination of fatty acids was significantly better than placebo in reducing a wide range of ADHD symptoms in children with reading disability and elevated ADHD symptoms. Within the placebo group, no significant reductions were found for any of the Conner’s scales relative to baseline levels. Among treated children, however, statistically significant reductions were found for psychosomatic problems, cognitive problems, anxiety, attention problems, hyperactivity, and a global index measuring a broad range of behavior problems.

However, since none of the children had been formally identified as having ADHD, it isn’t known for sure if these results will translate across to those with an independent ADHD diagnoses. Other studies have shown relatively low levels of certain important fatty acids in many ADHD children. Therefore, it may be worthwhile to approach your health food store and talk to a professional there relating to an appropriate supplement.

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What is the prevalence of ADHD

What is the prevalence of ADHD?

In one large study of some 4,500 children in North Carolina (Angold, A. et al. (2000) Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 39, 975-984), the rate was found to be 3.4% overall. As well, there were an additional 2.7% suffering from significant impairment of ADHD-like symptoms (this is called ADHD-Not Otherwise Specified, or ADHD-NOS for short).

Of the 3.4% composition, boys were found at the rate of 5.3%, versus a 1.5% rate for girls.

The largest survey of this type, compiled by researchers at Washington State University, examined data from all reporting U.S. physicians involving over eight million diagnosis of ADHD. For the latest years of the study (1997-1998), the overall rate of a physician-confirmed ADHD diagnosis was 5.7% of all children, with girls at 3.3% and boys at 7.8%.

However, one large scale survey of over 400 family-practice doctors and pediatricians (Wasserman, R.C., et. al.; (1999). Pediatrics, 103, pp. e38) indicated that primary care physicians are three times more likely to identify ADHD in boys than girls, even when equal symptoms are present. This suggests that the prevalence of ADHD may, in fact, be much higher, if the rate for girls is trebled. It also suggests that ADHD in girls may approach the rate seen for boys.

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ADD/ADHD: Does stimulant therapy (i.e. Ritalin, Adderall, etc.) help?

Does stimulant therapy (i.e. Ritalin, Adderall, etc.) help?

Given that a study by Washington State University researchers showed that physician-diagnosed ADHD children will be prescribed stimulant medication between 63% (girls) and 72% (boys) of the time, it’s important to know whether this is helpful.

The answer is, yes, and also, no. The NIH put it this way in their consensus statement:

“As measured by attention/activity indices, patients with varying levels and types of problems (and even possibly unaffected individuals) may benefit from stimulant therapy. These studies … have established the efficacy of stimulants and psychosocial treatments for alleviating the symptoms of ADHD and associated aggressiveness. … Of concern are the consistent findings that despite the improvement in core symptoms, there is little improvement in academic achievement or social skills.”

The largest study of ADHD children ever, the Multimodal Treatment Study of Children with ADHD (MTA study), first reported after the release of the NIH statement, echoed this finding, relating both to the improvement of symptoms, and the lack of improvement in academic or social settings.

It also isn’t known as to whether or not stimulant medication improves other social outcomes, such as arrest rates and drug abuse.

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Implications of untreated ADD/ADHD

Social Outcomes

According to the NIH (NIH Consensus Statement 1998 Nov 16Ð18; 16(2): 1Ð37.), children with ADHD experience peer rejection and engage in a broad array of disruptive behaviors. Their academic and social difficulties have far-reaching and long-term consequences. These children have higher injury rates. As they grow older, children with untreated ADHD in combination with conduct disorders experience drug abuse, antisocial behavior, and injuries of all sorts. For many individuals, the impact of ADHD continues into adulthood.

The 2002 Murphy study (under Academic Effects, above) also looked at rates of arrest by the police, illegal drug use, alcohol abuse, and drug dependency in the same set of young adults. Depending upon the subtype of ADHD, rates of arrest were from 45% to 300% higher, illegal drug use was 55% higher, alcoholism was 400% higher, and drug dependency was between 5 to 10 times higher.

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Does tutoring or the right kind cognitive training help ADHD?

Most of the assistance to date for ADHD children has either revolved around medication, behavioural therapy, or in academic settings, tutoring or special needs assistance. Is tutoring or training helpful?

a) Conventional tutoring
According to a 2002 study of 891 children, by Dr. David Rabiner of Duke University, conventional tutoring does help children with poor reading skills. However, he states that

“Tutoring was clearly less helpful for children with attention problems. As children's level of attention problems increased, the benefits of tutoring steadily declined. In fact, among children whose attention problems approached a clinically elevated range, there was virtually no discernible benefit of tutoring.

This should not be interpreted as demonstrating that academic tutoring cannot be helpful for children with attention problems. It does suggest, however, that tutoring may need to be more intensive, and/or that it may need to be specifically targeted to the special needs of children who are inattentive.”

b) Targeted cognitive training
On the other hand, there is emerging research evidence that points to the benefit of targeted training (rather than general academic tutoring) for those with ADHD. The NIH stated that:

“… given the evidence about the cognitive problems associated with ADHD, such as deficiencies in working memory and language processing deficits, … there is a need for application and development of methods targeted to these weaknesses”

In relation to those with brain injuries, the NIH previously stated that:

"Cognitive exercises, including computer-assisted strategies, have been used to improve specific neuropsychological processes, predominantly attention, memory, and executive skills. Both randomized controlled studies and case reports have documented the success of these interventions using intermediate outcome measures. Certain studies using global outcome measures also support the use of computer-assisted exercises in cognitive rehabilitation."

One study (Shaffer, et al., American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March 2000, 155-161) looked at the effect of a rhythm-based training program specifically designed for children with learning or attentional difficulties. The study examined 56 ADHD children who were given one of three treatments, one of which was a specific training designed to assist ADHD. The other two treatments were placebo or control-group orientated.

The study found that there was statistically significant pattern of improvement across 53 of 58 variables involving the training program. There were significant differences were found among 12 factors on performance in areas of attention, motor control, language processing, reading, and parental reports of improvements in regulation of aggressive behavior.

Another study, conducted in 1993 at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, California, by Drs. Aubrey Fine and Larry Goldman, related to the study of a specialized computer program designed to reduce ADHD. The study looked at 67 ADHD diagnosed children, who were given one of three treatments, one of which was a specific computer-based training designed to assist ADHD. The other two treatments were placebo or control-group orientated.

The conclusion by the reviewer, Dr. Joseph A. Stanford, was that this training was helpful to significantly improve the ability to focus and sustain attention, to encode and retrieve visual and auditory information and to increase the speed of mental processing. This training also significantly improved emotional and psychological functioning by apparently decreasing ADHD symptoms.

Another study published in the November 1999 issue of the Journal of Learning Disabilities (Semrud-Clikeman, M., An Intervention Approach For Children With Teacher- And Parent-Identified Attentional Difficulties. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 32, 581-590) examined the effect of targeted training on attention tasks. Participants in this study were 33 children in grades 2 through 6 who were diagnosed with ADHD, and 21 matched comparison children.

Attention training was conducted in after-school groups of 4 to 5 children that met twice a week for 60 minutes each time over an 18-week period. The training program utilized both visual and auditory attention tasks. The visual attention tasks required children to find a target stimulus embedded in an array of distracters. For the auditory task, children were required to count the number of times particular targets could be heard on a cassette tape. These are the kinds of repetitive, uninteresting tasks that children with ADHD
typically have great difficulty performing accurately.

The conclusion was that results from this study indicate that children with ADHD can perform as well as non-ADHD children on visual and auditory attention tasks following training in sustained attention and problem-solving skills.

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Weather versus Climate

Global warming deniers often point to the inaccuracy of daily weather forecasts as a reason that global warming can only be considered a wild theory, at best.

"How can they be right about climate, when they can't even tell you what the weather will be like next week?", they say.

For instance, in Canada, our national forecasting agency got it terribly wrong this summer (summer 2004). In making their seasonal forecast, they looked at the ocean water on the West Coast and in the Labrador Sea. Chief climatologist David Phillips said it was so superheated it was like a "hot tub," he said, measuring about 5 degrees (F) above normal. Usually, as the water goes, so goes the land. So, Canada's weather agency, hand in hand with its supercomputer and complex global climate models, had predicted that June, July and August would be warmer and drier than usual right across the country.

Not this year. Instead, the great swath of Central Canada was cooled off all summer by a ferociously cold spring in the Arctic tundra, the second-coldest on record and a big climate surprise after the years of extraordinarily warm temperatures in the Arctic.

But when all was said and done, it was a stinker of a summer nearly everywhere in Canada: cool, wet and dull. In fact, it was the coolest summer since 1992, when Mount Pinatubo spewed ash into the atmosphere.

Global warming deniers look at events like this and conclude that there's no way that scientists could even have an inkling of what the climate will be in 50 years, given all the variables. But predicting climate and weather are quite different - like predicting in the late 1970s that the computer industry would grow, versus specific winners and losers in that industry.

Carrying forth that analogy, in the late 1970s, virtually all career counsellors pointed to the computer industry as an area of above average job growth. The factors were clear - computing costs were continuing to fall, and there was relatively little computer automation of many processes, and computers made information more freely available (at least to those within a specific business) and therefore was likely to improve efficiencies. This is like climate. The broad factors and trends are known, and can be projected into the future with reasonable certainty.

What they couldn't tell you, was who the specific winners were likely to be. This is like predicting the weather - a more day to day thing. IBM, they'd have probably said (then the largest computing company) would be the largest company. Few would have been able to forsee it's near flirtation with bankruptcy, or the rise of Microsoft, PeopleSoft, Cisco, or Sun Microsystems, for instance. Predicting company specific outcomes, is just like the weather, more variable than predicting broad trends based on well-known factors.

Today, we have the rise of genomics and nanotechnology. Without limitations via government regulation, these will be huge industries in the next 20-40 years. This is today's business "climate"

Yet I doubt anyone could tell me - at a rate better than chance - which companies will be the winners and which ones won't exist then. This is today's business "weather".

We know the broad trends for things that affect climate. The increased output of known heating trapping agents. If anything, everytime a serious report comes out, the prediction for the increase in temperatures keeps escalating, as the science and *measurement* gets better and better, and as past predictions are compared to what actually occurred. These measuremements and benchmarking against past predictions are almost invariably resulting in more dire predictions for future temperature, and the increase in significant weather events. But don't expect the scientists to be able to tell you there's going to be a Category 4 hurricane on Wednesday, September 5, 2006.

Climate versus Weather. Why they can be right on one, and wrong on the other. Don't be fooled by global warming deniers!

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When smart people turn dumb: Global Warming Dummies.

Well, I've seen it time and time again,

People who deny global warming exists, offer up a few obscure sources to support their claims (much like tobacco company scientists), and don't even seem to understand that some of the basics aren't even up for dispute anymore (eg like that CO2 actually traps heat - this has been known for a 100 years or better).

What I find a bit frustrating are people who just come in and talk about this in fuzzy issues. They "just don't think" that CO2 emissions are having any effect on global warming, and offer up some strange and bizarre reasons, without any support from any reasonably credible source. These are the same people who bemoan from others, that "these things are pretty easy to check".

It's almost as if they woke up that morning and said, "I've got take my stupid pill, today!". Then they proceed to operate on that basis - despite being clearly intelligent on other forums, they offer up pasty mush, weak thinking, and third rate sources. Ignoring all the while the vast credible number of experts in the field, the plethora of research, and even the well-understood basic dynamics of the global warming "theory". That they do this without offering even the most basis offsets of some sustantial thinking, logic or research showing how the current thinking or research is wrong, is frustrating, infuriating and lazy.

Please - grab a brain!

Just don't expect us to park ours at the door!

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Learning disabilities: Frustrating headway

I have worked with kids who have learing disabilities, including ADD/ADHD. We exercise their brains, by working on core cognitive functions. I provide a licensed program which does a pretty good job at improving cognitive functioning. However, I'm always on the look-out for potential break-throughs and improvements.

So, I recently went to an on-line data-basis, which provides the theses of any Canadian student between 1995 and 2002. So I searched for "learning disabilities" as my keywords.

Now I know why this field hasn't progressed all that rapidly. I couldn't find one abstract, of the 79 or so, which seemed to deal with cognitive exercises. A great many dealt with the social aspects of ADD of having a learning disability eg "ADD in the classroom - a study of teacher responses", or "Peer interaction and learning disabilities", or "Measurement of the WISC-II test - it's accuracy in NVLD learning disabilities".

No one - or very few - of the university types seem to get down into the "down and dirty" of looking at what type of cognitive exercises are having the best affect on children with learning problems. They're studying the heck out of the peripheral issues that arise from these problems, but practically ignoring the problems themselves. Maddening and frustrating.

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Check out hurricanes and other weather

Weather on Satellite here ... Link

and the Hurricane Intensity Scale here ... Link

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Saturday, July 15, 2006


I hope to collect some of the random musings I've posted around the internet and collect it here. I may just also post some of other musings I've had over the years. It's going to be a real mixed bag of stuff ....

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