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Archive for June, 2009

Tuesday - June 30, 2009

Using Cell Phones in Public

800px-several_mobile_phonesCell phones are everywhere, but should cell phones be used everywhere?

This year in California, a new law went into effect banning (making illegal) the use of cell phones while driving without a hands-free (not holding it with one’s hand) device.  Some critics say that this new law doesn’t do enough, that even using a hands-free phone doesn’t remove the  distraction of (taking attention away from) talking on the phone.

Other than laws related to cell phones and driving, there are no others that I know of that restrict (not allow) cell phone use.  However, many people believe that using a cell phone in some public places is rude (not polite) and annoying (irritating).

What do you think?  Where is it acceptable and not acceptable to use a cell phone?

~ Lucy


Where or when is it NOT okay to use a cell phone?

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Thursday - June 25, 2009

“Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child”


Hazem in Egypt wants to know the meaning of this saying: “Spare the rod and spoil the child.”

Spare the rod and spoil the child
is a saying that means that children will not behave well if they are not punished when they do something wrong and that punishment should be physical punishment, such as a spanking, where children are hit on their bottoms (the part of the body we sit on).

A rod is a thin, straight stick made or wood or metal.  To spare someone is to stop yourself from causing pain, worry, or injury to another person.  To spoil someone, usually a child, is to give that person everything he or she wants, or to be too lenient (tolerant) when they do something wrong.  Spoiled children don’t listen to adults when they tell them to do, or not to do, something.

Today, few people in the U.S. live by (believe and live according to) this saying.  While some Americans still use corporal punishment with their children, which is the name given to all types of physical punishment, it is not very socially acceptable.  People fear that corporal punishment goes too far in hurting a child and may cross the line into physical abuse, which is when someone causes serious pain or injury by using a lot of violence.  With few exceptions, schools, for example, no longer use any kind of corporal punishment for fear that parents will consider it abuse.

This saying, then, is well known, but not generally considered a socially-acceptable sentiment (opinion; view) these days.

Thanks, Hazem, for the question, and I hope this is helpful.

~ Lucy

Tuesday - June 16, 2009

Multiscreening and Me

tvBusinessWeek magazine had an article recently about people who surf the Internet while watching television at the same time.  About one out of every ten TV watchers are simultaneously (at the same time) looking at their computers, trying to do two things at the same time.  Multiscreening (watching more than one screen at a time) is just one part of a more general trend of people multitasking (doing more than one thing at once).  Some people think that with all of the new technology now available to us, people are multitasking now more than ever.  I admit that I “multiscreen” probably about once a week, especially if it is a TV show that isn’t too demanding (doesn’t require a lot of concentration), such as a reality show or a sports game.

Many psychologists think that multitasking is a bad idea, however, since we are not able to fully concentrate on two things at once, and so do both things badly.  But I suppose that with tasks such as TV watching and web surfing, it doesn’t matter too much if we aren’t concentrating very hard – especially if you are reading my blog posts while watching The Simpsons, for example.


Thursday - June 11, 2009

The Movie or the Book

bolexh16Talking about Twilight, the book and the movie, in Tuesday’s blog comments got me thinking about books that have been made into movies.  These types of screen adaptations (television or film versions) are so common today, ranging from classics (old, respected books) to modern bestsellers (books that are extremely popular).

Personally, I have a very hard time seeing a screen adaptation after I’ve read a book.  In fact, I usually avoid it.  There are two main reasons.  First, the film version has no choice but to leave out parts of the book because of time constraints (not having enough time) and this, to me, changes the nature or scope (range) of the story.  Second, seeing a screen adaptation results in me replacing the images (pictures) I’ve formed in my mind about the book with those on the screen.  This is especially troublesome (a problem) when the ways I picture the main characters don’t match those in the film, and the film images replace those I’ve created in my own mind.  I can’t resist it.  It happens every time, and for me, that’s a sad thing.

This happened with one of my favorite novels, I Claudius, by Robert Graves.  This is a historical novel (story about real people in history) about the first Roman emperors (rulers).  In the 1970s, the BBC produced a miniseries (show with several parts) based on this novel, which many people had told me was excellent.  I finally rented the miniseries, but I couldn’t get the through the first episode.  The main character, played by an outstanding British actor, was completely different from how I had imagined him to be, and I couldn’t get past that (forget about it and move on).  Now, when I re-read the book, I can only see that actor, not the character I had created in my mind as I read the book the first time.  Another of my favorite books, Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurty, another historical novel, this time about the American west, has also been made into a miniseries.  Although this, too, received excellent reviews, I can’t bring myself (convince myself; force myself) to see it. I know that this is my loss, and I’m missing out on some very good films.

Are you like me?  Do you also have this problem?  Or, can you separate the book and the film, and not be influenced by the other?

~ Lucy

Tuesday - June 2, 2009

Americans’ Top 15 Dream Vacation Destinations

800px-waikiki_beach_at_sunset.jpgThis is the time of year when many Americans go on vacation. In 2008, a poll was conducted asking 2,500 American adults the following question:

“If you could spend a vacation in any country in the world, outside the United States, and you would not have to worry about the cost, what one country would you choose?”

Here are the top 15 destinations (places to go):

1. Italy
2. Australia
3. Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales)
4. France
5. Ireland
6. Greece
7. Japan
8. Germany
9. Canada
10. Spain
11. New Zealand
12. Switzerland
13. Mexico
14. Bahamas
15. Jamaica

(*Harris Poll conducted June 9 and 16, 2008)

I have been to only five of these destinations, but I’d like to visit them all, plus many more not on this list.

How about you?  Which country, on or off this list, have you never been to, but would like to visit?

~ Lucy