Thursday, March 9, 2017

Your first garden: A three-minute guide to success

You have never gardened before, but this year you want to give it a try. But the more you read, the more difficult it sounds! Or you do not even have a yard! What to do?

For your first garden, KEEP IT SIMPLE!

For gardening to work, it has to be manageable (easy, not overwhelming) and convenient (in a place you will pass by and see every day).



Plant in an area that is reasonably sunny and reasonably warm most of the day.

In the yard: Remove weeds and weed roots from the top 12 inches (30 cm) of the garden bed and thoroughly mix in fertilizer.
In pots: Mix potting soil and fertilizer in pots that are 12 inches (30 cm) deep, or deeper.

If you won't eat it, don't plant it.


  • 1 (or 2) TOMATO plants
  • 1 CHERRY TOMATO plant
  • 1 ZUCCHINI plant
  • 1 packet of PURPLE BUSH BEAN seeds
  • 1 packet of MIXED LETTUCE seeds
  • 1 packet of SUNFLOWER seeds

Seeds should be planted about twice as deep as the seed is wide. (A half-inch wide seed is planted one inch deep.) If plants come up too close together, just take out some ("thin" them) or move them and water them in in a different spot.

If you keep your seed packets in some cool, dry spot, you should be able to use any remaining seeds the next year, and probably even a third year. Alternatively, you can share seeds with friends this year if you have too many.

Keep seeds always moist (but not soaked) until plants appear. Water enough that soil is always moist, but not soaked all the time.

For each tomato plant, it is helpful to have a tall "tomato cage" put around it right when you plant it. Alternatively, a tall pole or stake that you can attach the tomato plant to as it grows, using loose bits of cloth or string. For any "pole" beans, poles, wires, or strings that they can climb as they grow (bush beans don't need this).

The best thing for a garden is the frequent appearance of the gardener's shadow. Put the garden where you will naturally see it and go past it at least every other day. This way you will see and correct any problems while they are small, and your garden will receive the attention it needs from you.

Keeping it simple should allow you to have at least some real success with your first garden.

Next year you can use what you learned this year and make next year's garden even better!

Happy gardening!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

You will be alone, until you understand you are not alone.

You will be sad, until you realize happiness is found only in truth.

There is good, there is truth, there is love.
It has always been there, has always surrounded you.

To see it, look for it.
To have it, want it.
To live it, let go of your


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Best analysis of narcissists and sociopaths in relationships that I have ever seen

Beautifully analyzed and so true:


" Yet the most powerful mechanism they have for control is toying with your emotions.

That’s why abusive narcissists and sociopaths manufacture situations of conflict out of thin air to keep you feeling off center and off balanced. That’s why they chronically engage in disagreements about irrelevant things and rage over perceived slights. That’s why they emotionally withdraw, only to re-idealize you once they start to lose control. That’s why they vacillate between their false self and their true self, so you never get a sense of psychological safety or certainty about who your partner truly is."


Bar none, the full text at that link is the best description I have ever read (and I have read TONS) of the workings of narcissists and sociopaths in relationships. In short, a relationship with a narcissist or sociopath makes no logical sense, because there is no relationship—it is all, all of it, just about them, and about them manipulating and controlling you.

Worth reading. Check it out:

Monday, May 30, 2016

Transcript of Bernie Sanders rally, Gainesville, Florida, March 10, 2016

Bernie Sanders rally, Gainesville, Florida, March 10, 2016 (Watch the video at:

Videos of other Bernie Sanders speeches are available at

TRANSCRIPT: You are the future of our nation! And it is...You like the hat, huh?...All right.

You are the future of our country and you have the RIGHT, the democratic right, to help SHAPE the future of this country!

Now, I know that Florida is big football country, right? But unless you are out on the playing field, football is a spectator sport. Democracy is NOT a spectator sport!

And, if we are going to change this nation, we have got to do it together—you and ALL Americans must be involved in the political process! Now, here's the truth, and what this campaign is about is telling the truth! And the truth is that there are people in Washington, and in corporate America, who do not want you to be voting, they do not want you to participate in the political process. They want you to think that politics is dumb, somebody else should do it. What we are fighting for right now is to determine whether it is the people of this country, all of us, who determine our future, or a handful of wealthy campaign contributors.

Let me, very briefly, tell you some things that other candidates for president will not. Number one, we have today a corrupt campaign finance system which is undermining American democracy! What democracy is supposed to be about is one person, one vote, not billionaires buying elections! Democracy is not about the Koch brothers and other billionaires spending hundreds of millions of dollars to elect candidates who represent the wealthy and the powerful. That’s not democracy! That is oligarchy! And, together, we’re gonna change that!

I want anybody here today, whether you’re progressive, conservative, moderate, to feel that you can run for office, if that’s what you want to do, without begging wealthy people for campaign contributions.

Second of all, and not unrelated to a corrupt campaign finance system is the fact that we have a rigged economy! Now, what does that mean. What it means is that in Florida and Vermont, and all over this country, you’ve got millions of people who are working longer hours for lower wages. You got 47 million people living in poverty. You got Mom working, Dad working, many of you are working, and yet, 58 percent of all new income is going to the top one percent!

What a rigged economy is about is that the United States today has more income and wealth inequality than any other major country on Earth! And it is worse today than at any time since 1928! What a rigged economy means, and listen to this: the top one-tenth of one percent now owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent. What a rigged economy is about is that the wealthiest 20 people in America now own more wealth than the bottom HALF of Americans—150 million people. What a rigged economy means, that unless we turn this economy around your generation will likely have a lower standard of living than your parents! We have got...Now, I know you love your parents. I know they are paying to send you here to school, but what the American dream is about, it’s always been about, it’s been about for my family. My father came to this country without a nickel in his pocket, never made any money. His dream was that his kids could do better than he. That’s the American dream. I want your kids to do better than you, and I want you to do better than your parents. I want to see the American dream go forward, not backwards!

And here's another truth. It's a harsh truth, but what this campaign is about is talking about the realities of America, because we cannot go forward unless we lay the real issues on the table. By and large, the media will not talk about the real issues. And you and I have to.

And here's another real issue: In America today we have a broken criminal justice system. Now I want you all to think about this. And what this campaign is about is thinking outside of the box. Don't think status quo! Think about what really goes on and where we can go as a nation, if we are prepared to stand up and fight.

Now what a broken criminal justice system means is that today we have, in America, more people in jail than any other country on Earth. We are spending 80 billion dollars a year to lock Americans up and, disproportionately, the people in jail are African American, Latino, and Native American.

Now, right now, just as an example, real unemployment for young people between 17 and 20 who graduated high school is 33 percent if they are white, 36 percent if they are Latino, 51 percent if they are African-American.

Do you want a radical idea? We are going to invest in jobs and education, not jails and incarceration! I want our young people to be working or studying, not seeing their lives destroyed in jail! And when we talk about criminal justice reform, we gotta be talking about reforming police departments all over this country. Now I was a mayor for eight years and I worked closely with police, and the vast majority of police are honest, hard-working, and they have an enormously difficult job. But all of us, whether we are black, or white, or Latino, are tired of seeing videos on TV when unarmed people are being killed by police. And that is why a police officer who breaks the law—like any public official—must be held accountable.

We need to end the militarization of police departments all over this country. Police departments should not look like occupying armies; they should be part of the community they serve. We need to make police departments look like the diversity of the communities they serve. We need to understand, when we talk about criminal justice reform, that drug addiction, alcohol, substance abuse, these are not criminal issues—they are mental health issues.

And we need to fundamentally rethink the war on drugs. Now, under the Federal Controlled Substance Act, marijuana and heroin are considered Schedule 1 drugs. I think that is dumb. All of you know—and I pray that you do know—that heroin is a killer drug, and in my state, and all over this country, we are seeing an epidemic of drug overdose on heroin and opiates, and I hope every one of you stays away from those killer drugs. But the truth is, you can argue the pluses and minuses of marijuana, but nobody thinks that marijuana is equivalent to heroin. And that is why I have introduced legislation to take marijuana out of the Federal Controlled Substance Act. Millions of Americans now have police records because of possession of marijuana and lives have been ruined. Now states make the decisions, not the federal government, regarding legalization of marijuana, but possession should not be a federal crime.

And when you look at the issue of marijuana, it comes laden with racial overtones, because it turns out that whites and blacks do marijuana at about the same rate, but blacks are four times more likely to be arrested than whites. That's wrong!

Now this campaign has been doing really well in the last number of months. When we began, when we began, we were at about 3 percent in the polls. We were about 60, 70 points behind Secretary Clinton. As of today, we have already won nine states! And we just pulled off a major upset in Michigan the other day. And on Tuesday, we've got five states coming up, including Florida. If you guys come out to vote, we are going to pull off an upset here, as well.

Now, this campaign has been doing well because we are listening to the American people, and not just wealthy campaign contributors. And what the American people are telling us, as we go around the country, we talk to workers. is that workers can not make it on 9 or 10 bucks an hour. They believe, and I believe, that the federal minimum wage of seven dollars and twenty-five cents an hour is a starvation wage. It's gotta be raised to a living wage. And that living wage should be 15 dollars an hour!

And when we talk about equitable wages, I hope every man here today will stand with the women in the fight for pay equity for women workers. Women in America should not be making 79 cents on the dollar compared to men! That is old-fashioned sexism! We are gonna change that!

This campaign is listening to the men and women who have put their lives on the line to defend us: veterans who demand decent health care and decent benefits, and we're gonna give it to them.

This campaign is listening to young people. What I hear from young people is, why is it that you've got to leave school, leave college, leave graduate school, 50 thousand or 100 thousand dollars in debt? Throughout our lives, people say “Get all of the education you can. It's good for you. It's good for your country.” And that is right!

People should not be punished for getting the education that they need. They should be rewarded! Today in America, we have hundreds of thousands of bright young people who want to go to college, who are qualified to go to college, but can't go to college for one reason. And that reason is their families lack the income. That is wrong!

Now, fifty years ago when we talked about public education, it was great to be talking about free education, first grade to twelfth grade. The world has changed! Today, a college degree, in many respects, is equivalent to what a high school degree was fifty years ago. And that is why, I believe, that when we talk about public education today, we've gotta be talking about making public colleges and universities tuition-free. We've got to be talking about substantially reducing student debt.

Now people say to me, “Well, Bernie that's a great idea, but it's expensive.” They are right. It is expensive. But I'll tell you how we are going to pay for it. When the greed and recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street helped destroy this economy, Congress bailed them out. I believe that we should impose a tax on Wall Street speculation. It's Wall Street's turn to help the middle class today!

This campaign is listening to our brothers and sisters in the Latino community. And what they are saying is they are tired of living in the shadows, living in fear. They want comprehensive immigration reform and a path toward citizenship. And they are right! That's what I will fight for as president. And if Congress does not do its job and pass comprehensive immigration reform, we are going to use the executive powers of the president to do everything we can.

Now I want to mention to you, just briefly, some of the differences in this campaign between Secretary Clinton and myself. Number one, Secretary Clinton thinks that the appropriate way to raise money is to have a super PAC and raise 15 million dollars from Wall Street. Raise millions from the fossil fuel industry. And millions more from the drug companies. Well, that's not the way we raise money in our campaign. Our campaign, up till now, unbelievably, has received over 5 million individual campaign contributions, not from the fossil fuel industry but from ordinary Americans. Anybody here know what our average contribution is? [Audience: 27 dollars!] Twenty-seven dollars!

[16:37]: To paraphrase Abe Lincoln at Gettysburg, this a campaign of the people, by the people, and for the people! As Congresswoman Gabbard just told you a moment ago, Secretary Clinton and I have some very different points of view regarding foreign policy. The most important foreign policy decision made in the modern history of this country was the war in Iraq. I listened to what President Bush and Vice President Cheney and all the rest had to say on that war. I believe they were not telling the truth. I voted against that disastrous war!

Secretary Clinton heard the same evidence. She voted for the war!

Thirdly, when you talk about the decline of the American middle class has a lot to do with trade policies. I believe that corporate America has gotta start investing in this country, not just in China and low-wage countries all over the world. I have opposed every one of these disastrous trade agreements, which have cost us millions of decent-paying jobs. Secretary Clinton has supported almost all of them. That's a real difference!

Now, you know, the American people are angry. And they have reason to be angry. They are working longer hours for lower wages. They are seeing almost all new income and wealth going to the top one percent. What this campaign is about is creating an economy that works for all of us, not just the people on top! This campaign is about taking on Wall Street and the big-money interests. This campaign is about understanding that climate change is real, that climate change is caused by human activity, and that climate change is already causing massive problems in this country and around the world.

Now, we have a moral responsibility, a moral responsibility to future generations, to have the courage to take on the fossil fuel industry and transform our energy system. This state of Florida can help lead the country in solar power! We can move toward wind and other sustainable technologies.

Now let me connect some dots here and show you what a corrupt campaign finance system is. There is almost no Republican, and certainly no Republican candidates for president, who have the guts to come before you and tell you exactly what the scientific community is saying. And the reason that they do not have the courage to tell you that climate change is real, and caused by human activity, has to do with the corrupt campaign finance system. Because if they told you the truth about climate change, on that day they would lose their campaign contributions from the Koch brothers and the fossil fuel industry.

And I say to those Republicans, worry more about the future of this planet than your damn campaign contributions!

Now, a lot of Republicans, they go campaigning around the country and they talk about family values. I want everybody here to be crystal clear what they mean by family values. And what they mean is that no woman here today, no woman in Florida, no woman in the United States, according to their family values, should have the right to control her own body. I disagree!

What they mean by family values is that our gay brothers and sisters should not have the right to get married. I disagree!

When I talk about family values, they are very different values than Republican values. My values are ending the international disgrace of the United States being the only major country on Earth not to guarantee paid family and medical leave. I don't want to see women in Florida, giving birth today, having to go back to work in a week or two, separating themselves from their baby because they don't have the income to stay home. That's wrong!

Now, I have been criticized for thinking too big. Well, I plead guilty! I think this is a great country and we can do a lot better than we are doing now!

My Republican colleagues believe that at a time when millions of seniors, and many in Florida, are trying to get by on eleven, twelve thousand dollars a year Social Security, they believe we should cut Social Security benefits! Well, I've got some bad news for them. Not only are we not going to cut Social Security benefits, we are gonna raise Social Security benefits!

A senior citizen, a disabled vet, can’t make it on twelve, eleven, thirteen thousand dollars a year. A great nation is judged not by how many millionaires and billionaires we have, but how we treat the weakest and most vulnerable people amongst us. We will not turn our backs on America's seniors; we’re gonna stand up for them!

Every major nation on Earth—the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Scandinavia, Canada, you name it—every one of these countries manages to provide health care to ALL of their people. Now I have been criticized for saying this, so let me say it again. I don't want any misunderstanding. I believe that health care is a RIGHT of ALL people, not a privilege! The Affordable Care Act, and I am on the committee that helped write it, has done a lot of good things. But we can do better!

Today 29 million people have no health insurance. Many others are underinsured with high deductibles and high co-payments, and we are being ripped off by the pharmaceutical industry that charges us the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. And then, to add insult to injury, we end up paying much, much more per capita than do the people of any other country for health care. That is why I believe we must move to a Medicare for All health care system.

Now let me tell you something that no other candidate for president will tell you, and that is that no president, not Bernie Sanders or anybody else, can do what has to be done for the working families and the middle class of this country alone. Can't be done! And the reason for that, and I hope you all understand this, is that the power of Wall Street, which has endless supplies of money, the power of corporate America, the power of the corporate media, the power of wealthy campaign contributors. is so great that no president alone can stand up to them. That's the truth.

The only way that we bring about real change in this country is the way that change has always occurred in America. Real change never takes place from the top on down. It’s always from the bottom on up.

Whether it is the right of workers to be a member of a union. That took place when millions of workers stood up and fought for that right. Whether it is the Civil Rights Movement when, for hundreds of years, millions of African Americans and their white allies said America will not be a racist, bigoted country. And change took place when people stood up and demanded an end to segregation and racism.

  A hundred years ago today, women in America did not have the right to vote, could not go to certain schools, could not do the jobs they wanted. Change, for women's rights, did not take place because somebody signed a bill; it took place because millions of women, and their male allies, said in America women will not be second-class citizens.

If we were here ten years ago, and somebody stood up and said, “You know, I think that gay marriage will be legal in 50 states of this country by 2015,” the person next to him would have said, "What are you smoking?," which is a whole other issue! But, again, this is how change takes place. The gay community, and their straight allies, said that in America people should have the right to love and marry the people they want regardless of gender.

What's my point? My point is real change always takes place when millions of people look around them and they say, you know what, the status quo is not acceptable.

It is not acceptable that women are not treated equally!

It is not acceptable that we have racism in this country!

It is not acceptable that gay people do not have the right to marry!

We’re gonna change it!

And that is where we are today!

It is not acceptable that we have more income and wealth inequality than any other major country on Earth!

It is not acceptable that we are the only major country on Earth that doesn't guarantee paid family and medical leave and health care to ALL!

It is not acceptable that we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of almost any major country on Earth!

It is not acceptable that we have veterans sleeping out on the street when people want to give hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to the wealthiest one percent!

It is not acceptable that millions of people in this country are being crushed by outrageous levels of student debt!

It is not acceptable that when the scientists tell us we have a short window of opportunity to transform our energy system, that we are not moving as aggressively as we should!

Now, what do we do to change it? What we do to change these things is to make certain that we have a government that represents ALL of us and not just wealthy campaign contributors. The way we change this is when millions of people begin to get involved in the political process in a way that we have not seen for many years.

Every person here today is enormously powerful if you choose to use your power! If a couple of million students tell Washington, D.C., that they are not going to spend their lives paying off student debt, trust me, Congress will make public colleges and universities tuition-free. But that does not happen unless you tell them!!

When workers tell Congress that they demand a 15 dollar an hour minimum wage, we'll get it, but it won't happen unless workers stand up and fight for it!

So what this campaign is about is more than electing a president; it is making a political revolution to transform our country!

And you are a part of that revolution!

What we have learned in this campaign, having won 9 states, is we do well when people come out to vote and there are large voter turnouts. Let's win here, in Florida, on Tuesday. Come out to vote! Thank you very much!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Bernie Sanders and Cognitive Dissonance at NPR's Morning Edition


(Posted here because posting there requires allowing NPR "to comment on your behalf." Um, what? No thanks.)

CONTINUING RACIST MSM NARRATIVE (i.e., the idea that people like Bernie because of their skin color, not because of his ideas.):
BARRY BURDEN: "Bernie Sanders has a lot of strength in Wisconsin. It's an electorate that is set up to favor him. It's a whiter electorate than in a lot of states where the Democrats have been competing."

BURDEN: "It's also an open primary, and that helps to bring in some independent voters who are more on his side."

CONTINUING AGEIST MSM NARRATIVE (i.e., the idea that people like Bernie because of their age, not because of his ideas.):
BURDEN: "And then there's a fairly strong base of students in the state - college students in particular in Madison - who are enthusiastic about him."

CONTINUING RACIST/AGEIST MSM NARRATIVE REPEATED (i.e., It can't be Bernie's ideas that people are voting for; it must be their age or skin color making them vote for him):
BURDEN: "Well, as I say, I think there's some demographic factors that are working to Sanders' advantage here."

BURDEN: "He also has the luxury of not having to do any fundraising. His money is all raised on the Internet somewhat automatically, without a lot of effort from him. And that frees him up to spend all of his time, essentially, campaigning in the state. He's barely left the borders of Wisconsin over the last 10 days."

BURDEN: "In contrast, Hillary Clinton has done some events in the state and run some advertising, but she's also traveled to fundraisers on the East Coast."

CONTINUING MSM ATTEMPT TO REMOVE OUR EYES FROM THE BALL (Bernie's victory on March 5-6 [69 to 65 delegates (51% to 49%) KS/LA/NE/ME]; Bernie's victory on March 22 [75 to 55 (58% to 42%) AZ/ID/UT]; Bernie's victory on March 26 [104 to 38 (73% to 27%!!!) AK/WA/HI]):
BURDEN: "And she's looking ahead to New York, Pennsylvania and some other states that are down the road."

RENÉE MONTAGNE: "So you're saying Hillary Clinton hasn't put as much energy into the state as has Bernie Sanders."

BURDEN: "A lot of the leadership of the unions has endorsed Hillary Clinton, but a lot of the rank and file has really resonated with the Sanders message about the minimum wage (SANDERS $15; CLINTON $12), about inequality (To paraphrase the Bill Clinton campaign: "IT'S THE MIDDLE CLASS, STUPID."), campaign finance (THE RICH SHOULD NOT HAVE 'MORE FREE SPEECH THAN OTHERS'), trying to reverse the trade patterns in this country (TRADE DEALS SHOULD BENEFIT ALL AMERICANS, NOT JUST LARGE CORPORATIONS). And I think the average union member on the ground just finds the Sanders messages more appealing. (THE AVERAGE INFORMED AMERICAN ALSO FINDS SANDERS MORE APPEALING:"

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

My REMOVED reply to the Rolling Stone article "How the 'New York Times' Sandbagged Bernie Sanders":


Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Here it is 12 years later, and Bernie, even with the advantages of social media, and virtually the same Medicare for All, free preschool to college, anti-NAFTA, anti-Iraq War platform that Dennis Kucinich offered the country in 2003-2004 (when there was still a chance to just not start that war), is suffering the same treatment at the heavy hands of the New York Times.

From an interview with the Toledo City Paper in February 2004 ("Fighting for recognition, finding an audience"):


TCP: Why do you think you’ve been marginalized by mainstream media?

DK: I don’t ask The New York Times for permission to run for public office. The things I talk about relate to people’s practical aspirations — jobs, health care, education, retirement and peace. Big media monopolies generally aren’t interested in seeing these things as part of the debate. I’ve also been very vocal in advocating media reform to break up media monopolies so, naturally, I run the risk of being ignored or misrepresented.


It is enough to make one feel like losing hope, but it is really just further motivation to keep fighting harder for what is right.


Not sure what was objectionable in that, but all I can guess is that Rolling Stone/US Weekly might be sensitive to discussions of breaking up "big media monopolies".

Reminds me of Grandpa's Golden Rule: "He who has the gold makes the rule."

The same can be said to be true of freedom of the press: "He who owns the press has the freedom."

For more on the fear that some people in power have of all the rest, see this amazing piece from José María Luis Mora (Mexico, 1831):

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

New PSAT: Super Quick Tips for Doing Your Best





MOST PEOPLE read the passage quickly, then have to re-read it many times to answer all the questions; or even worse, they answer the questions without reading the entire passage.

INSTEAD, YOU SHOULD read the passage ACTIVELY (analyzing, questioning, and thinking about the meaning of every little piece of it as you read). This will make most questions easy to answer without having to do much re-reading.

PASSIVE READING: Lady Carlotta stepped out on to the platform of the small wayside station and took a turn or two up and down its uninteresting length, to kill time till the train should be pleased to proceed on its way.

ACTIVE READING: Lady Carlotta ["Lady" must mean she is from a noble or royal family.] stepped out [Out of what?] on to the platform of the small wayside station [What kind of station? Bus? Train?] and took a turn or two up and down its uninteresting length [She is walking back and forth along the station. There is nothing interesting to see.], to kill time [She has nothing else to do while she waits.] till the train [Aha! It's a train station.] should be pleased to proceed on its way [She is thinking of the train as having feelings, and of it having a choice in when it will leave the station.].

WHY THIS WORKS: Active reading takes more time at first, but probably less time than having to re-read the passage for each new question. By reading actively, you will remember much more, and if you have done it well, you will notice that the questions are asking you things you already thought about and answered for yourself!!

PS: Read the questions carefully, too, then eliminate the wrong answers. If you can't decide between two answers, don't just pick one (if you want a high score); instead, go ahead and look at the passage again and figure out which answer is the better one. On well-designed standardized tests, the answer does have to be contained in the passage!!

PPS: If there are charts or graphs, analyze those thoroughly first, before reading the passage.


MOST PEOPLE pay too much attention to just the underlined words.

INSTEAD, YOU SHOULD pay attention to the meaning and flow of the WHOLE text. If something about the underlined text sounds odd or makes the sentence hard to read, that is your brain telling you there is probably an error. You should look at the entire sentence to decide how to fix it in a way that would sound direct, simple, and NATURAL to an educated native speaker of American English.

AN EXTREME EXAMPLE: Yet some of the earliest known works of art, including paintings and drawings tens of thousands of years old found on cave walls in Spain and France, portrays animals.

Yet some of the earliest known works of art, including paintings and drawings tens of thousands of years old found on cave walls in Spain and France, portrays animals. (Information between commas is often just extra information, and on the PSAT is often there to distract you.)

Yet some of the earliest known works of art...portrays animals. (This is the relevant part of the sentence.)

Yet some of the earliest known works of art...portrays animals. ("Of art" is just a prepositional phrase describing what kind of works are being discussed. The real subject of this sentence, though, is "works.")

Yet some of the earliest known works...portray animals. ("the…works…portray" is correct; "the…works…portrays" is not.)

PS: Sometimes the PSAT asks you to replace incorrect text with "correct" text that has a different meaning. Don't fight it. Just pick the one that works best, based on what the question is asking.


MOST PEOPLE read the question once, then have to read it one or two more times, and they also make the mistake of trying to do too much in their heads instead of on paper. (Doing math on paper is almost like having two heads, and two heads are better than one! At least if you want to get the right answers, and the points!)

INSTEAD YOU SHOULD WRITE DOWN EVERY PIECE OF INFORMATION AS YOU READ THE QUESTION THE FIRST TIME. Make a habit of doing this on every question. Then all the information will be where you can see it, and you will spend less time having to re-read questions. ALSO, if the question is "What is the value of x+5?," then write down "x+5=?" and CIRCLE IT. NEXT write down everything else you know about the problem (if there is a square with side of length 2, then write "2" on every side and mark right angles in every corner; if the problem says "segment AB, not shown," then draw in the line segment between points A and B; etc.). ONCE YOU HAVE every possible piece of information written down and visible, give yourself a couple seconds to see if there is an easy way to get the answer. If so, do it. If not, just try going step-by-step, ALWAYS DOUBLE-CHECKING EVERYTHING ("OK, 5 + 18 is 23 [Is 5 + 18 really 23? Yes, it is.] and 23 times 4 is 82 [Does 23 times 4 equal 82? No wait, 92. Right? Yes.]"), and then MAKING SURE THE ANSWER YOU GET REALLY DOES ANSWER THE QUESTION ["Yay! x is 12! Wait. What is the question I circled earlier? 'x+5=?' Uh-oh! x is 12, but x+5 is 17. The answer to the question is 17."]

PS: If you are having trouble with a question, circle the question number and move on. Go get the easy points first! Then come back to the difficult questions, starting with the easiest one.

PPS: On the whole test, but especially on the math test: 1. BE CAREFUL, 2. BE CAREFUL, 3. BE CAREFUL! Most lost points are from not reading the question correctly, going too quickly, not double-checking everything, etc., and all of these errors are avoidable if you just ALWAY REMEMBER TO ALWAYS BE CAREFUL!