Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Frosty the Snowman's Cousins

Frosty the Snowman's cousins:

Frosted the Snowman - Not a jolly happy soul.

Frosting the Snowman - Always takes the cake.

Frostee the Snowman - From a blended family.

Frost-Free the Snowman - Hard exterior, but dry sense of humor.

Frisbee the Snowman - With Travolta, the original flying disco star.

Fru-Fru the Snowman - Instead of running through the streets of town, prefers to go hopping through the forest.

Fur-Free the Snowman - Would rather go naked.

Furaffee (フラッフィー) the Snowman - Frosty's furry kawaii cousin

Phone-Tree the Snowman - Has committed to calling three other snowmen in case of global warming.

Effrontery the Snowman - You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me?

All credit/blame for the foregoing goes to Chris Marquardt, copyright 2010.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Oboaix Uil. Ecaep.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Quiz: Warning signs that your online chatting has become an 'affair'

As I have become a minor expert on this topic over the past year, I have found many resources that deserve a wider audience. This is one of them. Hopefully it will help spare someone out there the same trouble. These things sneak up on you. Before they happen, you think they never could. Once you realize it has happened, it is usually several months too late to do much about it. Hopefully, this will help you catch it early, whether it is you or your partner beginning to fall into this trap, and will get you turn off the computer and talk to your partner instead (and if that does not work on its own, go together to a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) who can help you get perspective and frame things as "us against our problems" instead of "me against you"). Best wishes. And now, the quiz:

Quiz: Warning signs that your online chatting has become an 'affair'

By Rosalie Pattenden
Clinical Practice Leader, Relationships Australia (Victoria)

1. Looking back over the past week, have you spent more than three hours talking to your online 'friend'?

2. Have you begun to plan for and look forward to your next communication with him/her?

3. Does your partner know about this friend, and would you be comfortable if he/she wanted to join in?

4. Do you 'chat' when no-one else is around?

5. Do you make excuses to go online?

6. Do you 'exit' the screen if someone walks into the room when you are chatting?

7. Are you telling your online 'friend' more about your thoughts and feelings, your achievements and disappointments than your partner?

8. Have you told your online 'friend' about problems you are having in your relationship with your partner?

9. Are you beginning to think that your online 'friend' understands and supports you more than your partner?

10. Are you finding that you are becoming unpredictable with how you treat your partner - sometimes very loving, and sometimes unnecessarily impatient?

11. Are you finding that your sex life with your partner has changed since you have had this online 'friend' - either that you are having substantially more or substantially less sex with him/her?

12. Have you considered, or actually begun to take the next step with your online friend by sending photos, talking on the phone, or meeting for coffee?

If you have answered "Yes" to five or more questions, you are crossing the line from 'online friend' to 'affair'. Are you willing to risk losing your partner and family? This is the risk you are running.

This quiz appears at the end of a short article at:

Another resource worth reading for both partners in any committed relationship, especially ones that still have no problems or only minor problems (why take risks?), is the outstanding book by Dr. Sue Johnson, Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love.
I think the first 60 pages should be required reading in high school. Given the choice between learning another trigonometric identity or taking a few class periods to learn how relationship dynamics really work, and how to keep relationships close, I know which one I would choose! No matter what the state of your relationship, this will make it, and all your relationships, better. (Unless, of course, you are reading it after it's too late for your relationship, like I did. Ouch.)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Other Woman Speaks

Just a very interesting article I found about the experiences of the "other woman." There are more interesting parts in the article itself, but some of the more understanding/sympathetic ones are these:


Why do you think you got involved? What was the draw?

I was lonely. I was unhappy. I was at a point in my life when I'd gotten really good at hiding most of my insecurities but they were still there underneath and honestly I think that played a big part.

How so?

When you are constantly looking for the approval of other people, you're susceptible to their suggestions and falling into bad behavior because you -- I don't know -- want them to keep wanting you. I'm not implying I'm a victim in all of this. You just want the attention, even if it's bad, because it makes you feel validated. It's almost addictive.

So you were addicted to this situation?

In a sense, I would say yes. I didn't want it to end even though I knew it would never be anything real and knew I was hurting people. I didn't want his attention to go away, because there were times when it felt like waiting for him to get in contact with me was the only thing that kept me going. So yeah, addiction might not be too far off.


The article's interesting beginning:

"How did the affair begin and who was the instigator?"

and end:

"Why did the affair eventually stop and who ended it?"

can be found, and read, at:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us,
An’ foolish notion...

Robert Burns, “To a Louse

Interesting, for example, that it so easy to see the errors in everyone else, yet somehow everything we happen to believe is the right belief—and everything we happen to do is the right thing to do. (Precisely Burns’s point, as you will see if you read the whole poem.)

Amazing that out of billions of people, each believing and acting his or her own individual (and different) way, there should be so many of them who happened to get it 100% right!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Reframing and Rethinking the "Achievement Gap" in Standardized Tests

In today's Olympian, I was startled to read that "Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn...would be meeting with legislative leaders within the next few months to start making plans for tackling the issues of test scores, the achievement gap among different ethnic groups and graduation rates." What bothers me here is the linkage of test scores to ethnicity in a way that gives ethnicity the appearance of somehow having a causal effect on test performance.

If this were true, there would not be much that could be done about it. In fact, treating this as though it were true allows us, unfairly, to say that there is something about being black or Hispanic that causes poor test results. The reality is that race and ethnicity are not really valid predictors of test results, whereas parental education and household income are. Family income and education are clearly—and even linearly—correlated with student achievement in school and on standardized tests.

When we focus on race/ethnicity as a basis for test performance, we EITHER 1) allow ourselves to believe that the resulting "gap" is not really resolvable, because it is not possible to turn a black child into a white one, or a Native child into an Asian one, OR 2) we focus our "gap" remediation efforts on children who happen to fall into certain racial categories (regardless of family education, household income, or the individual student's performance), when we should instead be focusing our remediation efforts on children who are not performing well, regardless of race.

If you analyze these two approaches, it is easy to see that the first approach (viewing race as a condition that is not "remediable") is 1) racist, 2) likely to be ineffective, and 3) misses the real point, and that the second approach (directing remediation efforts towards students of certain races) is 1) racist, 2) likely to be ineffective, and 3) misses the real point, also.

Granted, it may not be in the Superintendent's power to modify the household income or parent education level of each child, either, but he should still understand that these have far more to do with student achievement than a child's race or ethnicity. Race and ethnicity are only predictors to the extent that they correlate with family education and income, something which, as society becomes less racist, becomes less valid. However, as long as we make the racist assumption, however unconsciously, that "poor children" are one and the same thing as "minority children," or that "low-performing students" are one and the same as "minority students," we will continue to miss the real point, continue to have a ready excuse for why the "gap" is basically unresolvable (What can we really do, or be expected to do, about a child's race? Nothing!), and continue to address the wrong issue, the supposed "(racial/ethnic) achievement gap," instead of the very real gap between students from disadvantaged backgrounds/districts/schools and students who have all the advantages to help them succeed.

Please focus on supporting disadvantaged, low-performing students—regardless of race/ethnicity. This approach will make the problem solvable, because it frames it in a way that something can be done about it; namely, everyone involved in education in this state needs to direct more resources and support to those students with fewer resources (in any school, rich or poor), in order to help them have the kind of educational success that is almost a given for students who have more advantages.

Thank you.

Chris Marquardt

Other interesting information:


Calfee showed graphs documenting that student achievement on the API dipped in direct proportion to the number of teachers in the school working on "emergency" credentials, essentially a district waiver for teachers who do not yet have the appropriate credential for their assignment. The correlation was just as strong as that between low test scores and poverty, and high test scores and high parent education levels, Calfee said.

California's Class size reduction program, which in July 1997 dropped lower elementary grades to 20 students per teacher, has not yet shown marked gains in student achievement for the Inland Empire, Calfee said, citing research done by the California Educational Research Cooperative at UCR. Since the class size reduction program required the hiring of so many new teachers all at once, it actually may have put more inexperienced teachers in direct contact with students, and thus counter balanced most of the expected benefits of smaller classes.

You may also be interested in this Atlantic Monthly article on the characteristics of the best teachers (from the Teach for America study):

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, Confirmation Bias, and Empathy Deficit: How we shape our world, distort our reality, and isolate our selves

If you want to believe something about someone, first you will convince yourself it is true, then you will act in ways that will make it true. How that person really is, of course, is always more complicated than your limited view of them, but that won't matter to you, and it won't stop you from doing this to them.

We acknowledge complexity in ourselves, but we do not want to acknowledge it in others. We always—and so coincidentally, too!—manage to stumble upon the right point of view ourselves, so anything someone else believes that is different—again, how fortunate for us!—must be wrong.

This inability to accept others as being equally as complex as ourselves, this tendency to consider everything we do and believe to be the right way and all other perspectives to be wrong, keeps us from seeing reality, keeps us from understanding each other as fully as we might, and leaves us stagnant in the world, with no need to learn anything new and, as far as we know, nothing left to learn.

How sad. How dull. How dumb.