Posts Tagged "learning"

Going Farther Beyond the Pale

Dear Kid,

It turns out I was right. Or at least I wasn’t wrong. Most of the time I’ll settle for not being entirely wrong.

But there’s more to Going Beyond the Pale than I knew (special thanks to Tracey L. G. for educating me).

The Pale of Settlement was an area in western Imperial Russia where Jews were allowed to live. If you interpret that to mean they were less welcome as permanent residence in other parts of Mother Russia, give yourself a gold star and move forward three spaces.

Even within the Pale there were areas where Jews were not welcome.

The archaic English term pale is derived from the Latin word palus, a stake, extended to mean the area enclosed by a fence or boundary.

The Pale of Settlement was created by Catherine the Great when she wasn’t off doing other C the G things.

Life in the Pale was pretty much awful (in the worst of awful ways). It was cold (not “I’m chilly, go put on a sweater” cold, but bone cold), there wasn’t much food, and it was easy to hold pogroms because the Jews were all neatly packaged in small areas. On the plus side, however, it gave Sholom Aleichem something to write about—including Tevya the Milkman which eventually became (you guessed it) Fiddler on the Roof.

The Pale also gave rise to the modern Yeshiva educational system and many of the Chassidic families and practices.

Now you really know.

Love, Mom

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Learning in General and Don’t Drink and Drive

Dear Kid,

You’d think we (and by “we” I mean human beings in general) would learn.

Well, you might think that.

And to a small extent you’d be correct. Hopefully, you are learning a great deal (see my thoughts on college students studying if you’re not clear about what I’m implying).

But as a species, we really aren’t that bright.

We’re smarter than most mud, but only barely as the Darwin Awards so beautifully illustrate every year.

Evolution is slow. Cars are fast. It’s not necessarily a good combination.

September 10, 1897, a London taxi driver with the generic sounding name George Smith was drinking. My Friend The Internet (in the one article I so thoroughly researched) did not specify what he was drinking, so I’ll assume he stopped by the pub for a quick pint with his buddies. As so often happens, one thing led to another, in this case “one thing” being a pint and “another” being another pint (or 12).

George then thought it would be a brilliant idea to drive off. In point of fact, he did drive off—right off the road and into a building. This marked the first time someone was arrested for drunk driving.

It did not mark the last.

The first device to measure drunken-ness was Mrs. P.J. Zonker of Roanoke, Virginia. Mrs. Zonker could tell at 1,000 paces if Mr. P.J. Zonker had even been thinking about drinking. Mrs. P.J. Zonker came from a long line of women who were able to identify a whole raft of impure thoughts and breaths. But since Mrs. P.J. was the first to write about it in her diary, she’s the one who gets the credit.

Car and Tree trying to occupy the same space. No one wins. Don't drink and drive. DearKidLoveMom.comSome amount of time later (and by “some amount of time” I mean in 1936), Dr. Rolla Harger invented the Drunkometer (I kid you not) which was the forerunner of the Breathalyzer (which Harger later co-invented). The way a Breathalyzer works is by measuring the alcohol vapors in a person’s breath which is an indication of the amount of alcohol in their blood. Too much alcohol and the Breathalyzer bings! Once it bings! a series of events occurs starting with handcuffs and ending with jail time, a suspended license, and the insurance companies rubbing their GLPs (greedy little paws) together in glee. This is NOTHING compared to what your parents will do.

Do not drink and drive. Do not drink and even think of driving. Do not breathe and think of getting in a car with a driver who has been drinking anything stronger than apple juice.

Love, Mom

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An Epipheo About Learning (and Studying)

Dear Kid,

As you probably know, I think studying (especially for a College Kid) is important.

As you may or may not know, I adore the company Epipheo. I think they are positively genius at explaining complex things in a way people most of us a monkey I can understand.

Imagine my delight when I discovered one of their videos (yes, I should have been sleeping, but this is Epipheo) that talked about studying. Well, it talks about learning and sounds kind of like Dad (“Put down your communication device!”) but it’s fun and they’re right.

So pull up a small moment and watch the video. Extra points if you tell me the one word in this short video that made me smile the most (and unlike most of my posts, the answer is not at the end, so you’ll actually have to think. But I’m guessing you’ll get it.).

So what is your plan for a little down-time today? And did you figure out my favorite word?

Love, Mom

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10 Important Things You May Not Know About College

10 Important Things You May Not Know About CollegeDear Kid,

High schools, colleges, and countless friends do their best to prepare you for college. As your parents, we’ve spent the last 18 years trying to teach you the things you’ll need for a success life (and the last three months collecting things you’ll need for a successful first semester–still CANNOT believe how much all of that cost).

But, my darling, there are things we left out. Or may have glossed over. Or may have said several thousand times but are worried you didn’t hear.

So just in case you missed these…

1. The point of college is to learn something. Shocking, I know. Please try to find some time to get your homework done.

2. Not all learning takes place in the classroom. You never know where or from whom you will learn something interesting, relevant, or mildly amusing. A Great Sage once told me that nothing you learn is ever wasted. It may not be obvious how you’ll use what you’ve learned, but learning just for the sake of learning is a good thing.

3. Girls tend to prefer boys who do not smell like the bottom the sewer. Doing laundry every now and then is an excellent idea.

4. Kindness is never wasted. Be nice to someone today. Smile. You never know how much someone else needs that smile.

5. The other point of college is to make good friends. If you’re not comfortable telling your mother about your friends, they probably aren’t the people you’re supposed to be friends with.

6. Worrying is only useful up to a point. Think about this time last year: what were you worrying about then? (Besides football.) See what I mean?

7. Proofread. I just read a blurb (an entire three sentences) written by and about someone who describes herself as a tech-savvy writer and was trying to get companies to hire her. Yet there was great big honking grammatical error in the blurb. Yark! Did not inspire me to recommend her. (NOTE: the exception to looking down upon typos and mistooks is when your mother oops-es in this blog.)

8. Be polite. It’s free. But it generates a huge payback. It might even make you feel good.

9. Trust your instincts. You are a good kid. You make good decisions. Trust yourself.

10. We are still (and always) here for you. Seriously. Just because you are Acquiring Higher Education does not mean we stop being your parents. We’re here to help with anything we can. Except finding research sources at 2am–for that, you’re on your own.

Love, Mom

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