Friday, May 29, 2009

Taking off the crankypants...

For the last few days I've been very cranky. Since I'm not four, I have refrained from stomping my feet and screaming; instead, I had the adult version of a tantrum - sulking, not talking to others and taking out the stupidest things on other people who didn't deserve my nonsense. The reasons for being cranky varied, but it became clear this morning while reading an interview on that all of those "reasons" were pathetic when compared to things other people have going wrong in their lives.

Bob Woodruff was a journalist embedded in Iraq when he suffered brain damage after being caught in a roadside blast. He developed aphasia, which results when damage occurs to the part of the brain that affects speech. Here was a man who made his life's work explaining what was happening in the world to other people, and now he couldn't form the sentences he wanted to? Fortunately, Woodruff recovered and is now using his fame and reach to help wounded soldiers and their families receive the help and medical care they may not get using just their own resources. 

The city of Montreal is taking a novel approach to reducing, reusing and recycling its own resources. United Press International had a story earlier this month on the new Bixi program in Montreal. Members of the subscription service can pick up city-owned and maintained bicycles, ride them wherever they need to go and then return them to kiosks. You can do this as many times as you want per day. The pick up/return stations are all solar-powered, so they can be placed all over the city without the need to dig up anything. It's kinda like ZipCar but better for the environment and your health

A group of 293 fourth- through eighth-graders proved children are still very interested in improving their intelligence. Last night Kavya Shivashankar of Olathe, Kansas, was crowned the champion of the 82nd Scripps National Spelling Bee. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, she earned the honor after correctly spelling Laodicean, which means halfhearted in respect to religion or politics. Nearly all of the words in this article cited as ones the kids had to spell would have been too difficult for me, so hats off. While it's unfortunate most kids are attracted only by glitz to pursuits that used to be attractive in and of themselves, I'm glad the bee had a good time slot on a major network so it will continue to attract children's interest.

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