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Never moon a werewolf

An entire weekend at home with no articles to write, columns to prepare or workshops to tweak. After a very hectic October and early November of travel and work, it's nice to veg. Well, sort of veg. Some random thoughts...


The holiday catalogs are starting to arrive, and I am stealing from their offerings to add to my t-shirt slogan list. Some new ones:

  • I'm currently away from desk.
  • Of course I live in the past. It's cheaper there.
  • Never moon a werewolf.
  • Chemistry is just like cooking. Just don't lick the spoon.
  • Paddle faster! I hear banjo music.
  • Say NO to negative thinking.
  • At my age I don't even buy green bananas.
  • To err is human. To arrrr is pirate.
  • Ask me about my vow of silence.
  • I cannot resist the primal, demon rhythm of the polka.
  • I used to be a millionaire. Then Mom threw away my baseball card collection.
  • Being vague is as annoying as that other thing.
  • I'm so far behind, I thought I was first!
  • At what age am I old enough to know better?
  • And my favorite:


I am always pleased when I get a suggestion for improving one of my workshops or presentation techniques. I got two good ones during the ISLMA conference this week.

At the beginning of most of my workshops, I advise people that they don't need to take notes since most of the material in the session is also in the online handouts. After a workshop last Thursday, a very nice lady came up afterwards and suggested that I give people "permission" to take notes. She says doing so helps her process and retain the information better. I sometimes forget the power of permission we "experts" exert.

Another thoughtful suggestion was that when I cite a graphic in my slides with a URL, that I run the address vertically rather than horizontally. "It's less distracting," the participant suggested. Good idea.


This January for the first time, I will have a president who is younger than I am. I suspect as good a reason as any to do one's best as an educator is that eventually your dentist, your banker, your oncologist, your plumber, your grandchildren's teachers, and your president will all have once been your generation's students. If they are incompetent, you have no one but yourself to blame.


I greatly enjoyed a recent post by Rob Rubis on his Edging Ahead blog. In it he asks:

So have our lives changed in fundamental, core ways [because of the Internet]? Do I interact, on a day-to-day, moment-by-moment basis with my family, friends and professional colleagues, in a way that is fundamentally different than I did before 1995? Are my daily life routines (getting up at 4:50 am, working from 7:00 - 4:00, spending from 6:00 - 9:00 with family, and awaiting “weekends away” from work) different in core ways from what they were “before”? Has the business of meeting work commitments, fulfilling family obligations and achieving personal goals changed become fundamentally different from what it was?

While I am still chewing on Rob's question, I believe that blogging has changed the way I look at the world. I often read, observe and reflect with an eye on a thing's "blog-worthiness" just as Seinfield's Elaine always vetted men on their "sponge-worthiness." Being a better "noticer" is not a bad thing.

Oh, my initial reaction to Rob's question was thinking about about the old cartoon that asked, 'What did we do to look busy before there were computers?" Indeed.


This weekend's cold nasty weather makes it a good time to cook stew. Since it takes about 3 hours to cook, I only make this favorite recipe on the weekends. Give it a try. The paprika gives it a little zing and the rutabaga a little sweetness. And it's so good for you.

Two Harbors (MN) Beef Stew

Serves 8

Beef mixture
2 pounds beef round, cut in 1" cubes
1/4 c flour
3 T oil or margarine
2 c hot water
2 t instant beef boullion
1 medium onion, cut into chunks
1 clove garlic, diced
2 t paprika
1 t sugar
1/2 t black pepper
1/8 t allspice
2 bay leaves

4 medium carrots cut into chunks
3 medium tomatoes (I use a big can of whole tomatoes)
1 medium rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1/3 in chunks
1 green pepper cut into thin strips
1 16 oz can small white potatoes, drained

In Dutch oven, heat oil or margarine over medium-high heat. Place flour in paper bag; shake beef cubes in flour to coat. Brown floured beef cubes. Add remaining beef mixture ingredients. Simmer over low heat 1 1/2 hours. Add all vegetables except potatoes. Simmer 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add potatoes and cook until heath through, about 15 minutes.

Be advised that if you want a true Minnesota culinary experience, you'll need to add a can of Cream of Mushroom soup to the mix. And maybe sprinkle some crushed potato chips on top. But live dangerously and try it as it's written at least once...

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Reader Comments (10)

1. My favorite new t-shirt? "Real Vampires Don't Sparkle" (only makes sense if you're up on the Twilight phenomenon)

2. In January, the president will be my age. You may bear the blame if he's not prepared... I'm just scared because I know that neither I nor my friends are ready to lead a country!

November 9, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLazygal

If you like slogans, check out:

Calligraphic Button Catalogue

Disclaimer: I am not associated with Nancy Leibovitz, but I've bought too many of her buttons at SF conventions to be entirely disinterested -- I want her to keep making more and more buttons to feed my addiction. ;-)

November 9, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterkfrech

My favorite from the Signals site is the National Sarcasm Society: It appeals to the cynical side of my brain. :-)

But the best one in my closet is this one: from Think Geek.

November 9, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTim

Being vague is as annoying as that other thing. Reading this reminded me that I wanted to comment on something. :)

Thanks for the list.

November 9, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJim McGuire

Thanks for posting Rob Rubis's blog entry Doug. With all the internet (& technology) changes, I am left wondering at times "what is core?" Is what I doing, & / or how I am doing it, enhancing core values? Big questions indeed.



November 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Dyer

Apparently, FOX News thinks there is a different "stew" brewing in Two Harbors...
"Minnesota Ripe for Election Fraud",2933,449334,00.html
"Virtually all of Franken’s new votes came from just three out of 4130 precincts, and almost half the gain (246 votes) occurred in one precinct -- Two Harbors, a small town north of Duluth along Lake Superior -- a heavily Democratic precinct where Obama received 64 percent of the vote. None of the other races had any changes in their vote totals in that precinct."
This would be an interesting topic and article to use for teaching information literacy skills.
Dan in Denver (and a transplanted Minnesotan)

November 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDan Brooks

Your favorite t-shirt slogan could be tweaked for us boomers still "edging ahead" by giving "me" a fishing rod hooked onto the rim of the circle ;) You are absolutely right. I still feel like I'm on the outside, hanging onto the being "in the loop" by a few thin lines - blogging being one.

November 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRob Rubis

@ HI Lazy,

I’d be scared if you led the country too ;-)

Oh, but not as scared as if Palin was.


@ Hi Kfrech,

Love the buttons. Thanks for sharing this site.


@ Thanks, Tim. I am definitely getting the “Come to the Dark Side” for my son-in-law, the minister/StarWars fan.


@ Jim,

You’re my kind of smart ass.


@ Hi John,

Good to hear from you. Rob’s a thoughtful guy and his blog is worth reading on a regular basis.

See you at TIES?


@ Hi Dan,

I suppose this leftist leaning is why I like the stew. The senate race is ugly and both candidates are pretty ugly themselves.

All the best,


@ Hi Rob,

The thing is, I’m starting to be a little proud of being out of the loop. With age comes cluelessness!


November 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

Just wanted to let you know that in honor of Fall fast approaching, I made your Two Harbors stew this afternoon. Followed the recipe almost exactly (just couldn't bring myself to put in canned potatoes--so used some nice Yukon Gold fingerlings) and chopped up some nice plum tomatoes as well.

It is absolutely delicious and it would be sacrilege to add a can of mushroom soup to the recipe!

Thanks for sharing.


September 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAdam Janowski

Hi Adam,

Glad you enjoyed it. You've inspired me to get out the dutch oven and whip up a batch myself. (I think the canned potatoes is a carry-over from this being a small cafe's recipe - a way to save a little time in the prep. I often use real potatoes myself.)


September 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

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