Saturday, February 28, 2009

national tooth fairy day

Today is National Tooth Fairy Day in America. Okay, there is really no such thing as National Tooth Fairy Day. But somebody somewhere decided to call February 28th National Tooth Fairy Day, so we will go with it. (Full disclosure - Somebody somewhere else is calling August 22nd National Tooth Fairy Day. Until Congress makes it official, this special day is just a myth and a debate seems a silly waste of time!!!)

Americans are always standing ready to cash in on any idea that might make them millionaires, so there is every Tooth Fairy product on the Internet that you can possibly imagine. Well, if you are a normal American, you can probably come up with fifty more money-making ideas revolving around the Tooth Fairy. The pillow (shown above) can be personalized and purchased at You can also purchase a personalized letter for your child at that website. There are endless websites that offer Tooth Fairy pillows and personalized letters!!!

There is even a Tooth Fairy Barbie. (See right.) I think she is very pretty. But then I have become a Barbie fan ever since a friend of mine revealed that she secretly collects Barbies. I was astounded because this friend is very intellectual and feminist in appearance, complete with unfettered clothing choices and a short, let-the-gray-show haircut. She is almost a curmudgeon, but not quite. So the thought of a Barbie collection is just bizarre, which is probably why she doesn't mention it to just anyone. (I consider myself blessed to be trusted with the secret and will certainly not reveal her name here. But I can't wait to tell her about the Tooth Fairy Barbie. I know she doesn't have one!)

When I was growing up, my Mother was working on her doctoral dissertation, which compared the development of religious beliefs with the more widely accepted child development stages of Piaget, Erikson and Freud. Mother believed that teaching children about invisible, magical people (Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, Santa), then revealing that they were fabrications, could possibly contribute to the questioning of the existence of God. So we were never taught to believe in the Tooth Fairy, but we were told that if we lost a tooth and placed it under our pillow, that we would find a quarter there in the morning!!! When my son was growing up, I did the same thing. But he insisted on believing in the Tooth Fairy anyway. So I played along.

The Tooth Fairy does seem to be an American invention. Other countries have different traditions for what to do when a child loses a tooth. In Japan, for instance, the custom is for children to throw upper teeth straight up in the air. The hope is that the new teeth will grow in straight as a result. In other Asian countries, upper teeth are thrown up on the roof of the house while the child shouts a wish for the tooth to be replaced with the tooth of a mouse. (Mice teeth continue to grow throughout the life of the mouse.)

There is a movie in production right now titled "Tooth Fairy" which will feature Dwayne Johnson as a professional hockey player who is sentenced (not sure by whom) to serve as a Tooth Fairy for a week. I predict that it will not do that well at the box offixe, but there is no accounting for the taste of the American movie-going public. But I bet it will be funny. Other folks slated to star in this movie include Julie Andrews, Billy Crystal and Ashley Judd.

Well, I hope you still have all of your own teeth. I have only lost one to date (not including my wisdom teeth and one that was pulled to make way for the braces to do their work in straightening out a heck of an overbite!)

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Today is the day true lovers turn towards each other and smile.

Today is the day that some women wait with baited breath to see what idiotic thing their mate will come up with. They love their men, but each year they just know he will get it wrong again.

Today is the day that some men run (in a panic) from store to store wishing that somebody would just point them towards the one thing that will automatically bring a delighted smile to their partner's face. They love their women, but they have absolutely no idea what they are doing and they know it!

Today is the day that some people contemplate whether they are in the wrong relationship.

Today is the day that some people wonder if anyone will ever love them again.

Today is the day that some people mourn the recent - or not so recent loss of a beloved partner.

Today is the day that some people wonder whether their beloved partner will be in this world on the next Valentine's Day.

Today is the day that children everywhere watch and learn what love is. Some lessons are not good ones.

Today is the day that some people make a ton of money.

Today is the day that teenagers everywhere look in the mirror and think that nobody will ever love them.

Today is the day that a lot of chocolate is sold - and eaten!

Today is the day that some don't see coming - then are devastated by when it catches them unawares.

Today is the day that someone will give the perfect gift and it will not be appreciated.

Today is the day that someone will give the perfect gift and the receiver will decide just how much love is there.

Today is the day of proposals and weddings.

Today is the day that some babies will be made - and others will be born.

Today is the day for that special kiss - or to remember that special kiss - or to dream about that special kiss.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

facebook addiction

If I were ready to admit that I had a true addiction to facebook, I would begin the twelve step addiction recovery program with this statement: "We admitted we were powerless over facebook—that our lives had become unmanageable." But so far, I am a functional facebook addict. But signs exist that point to the possibility of an addiction. I'm hoping that a confession on my blog will help me to come to a final conclusion.

Confession Number One: I have 597 facebook friends (as of today). By the end of the day, I will have more because I sent some invites to some players on one of the applications that I added. When I separate my "friends" into categories, this is what I come up with - Twelve "friends" are related to me and can be counted as true friends. Thirty "friends" are either former students of mine or were my co-workers when I was working at the college where I had those students - I certainly count them as true friends! Six "friends" are from my current job. Five are co-workers and one is a recent graduate. Six "friends" are guys I went to high school with. I would say that most of them are true friends. One is merely known to me. Twenty-three "friends" are real friends from college. It has been an absolute blast getting to know these folks again!!! That leaves over 500 "friends" who are really absolute strangers to me!

Confession Number Two: I added these "friends" in order to increase my score or my playing ability on one of the game applications I have added on my facebook page. Here are the stupid games that I play:

1. Scavenger Hunt - This is where my application trouble began. This application hides scavenger items all over facebook, including on the pages of any friends that you have that might also have added the application. It didn't take me long to figure out that I would find scavenger items faster if I had more "friends". But it is considered rude (and annoying) to ask your real friends to add an application. So when I saw the "Scavenger Hunt add-me list", I went for it. I have 246 "friends" playing this game with me. I only know one of them!

2. Mousehunt - This is an application that allows you to hunt for different varieties of mice within the application. In this case, mice are only found within the application, but being part of a "hunting group" allows you to catch mice faster. This time, I went looking for the "add-me" list. I have 213 "friends" playing this game with me. I don't know any of them!!!

3. Parking Wars - This application is based on the A&E program of the same name. In this application, you are assigned a street that has five parking places on it. Some are open spots where any car can be parked. Others have signs behind them that say "No parking" or "Red cars only". Cars are also given to you at the beginning of the game. Then you can earn and purchase additional cars. Each player parks their cars on other people's streets. As the car sits parked, its monetary value increases. If you move the car, you "cash in" at whatever its current value is. But if your blue car (for instance) is parked on a "red cars only" spot, the owner of the street can issue a parking ticket. Whew! Anyway, I have one real friend playing this game and lots of "friends" playing. I did not add any friends for this game. I believe they are all on Scavenger Hunt anyway!

4. Possum Toss'em - This application is also based on an A&E show, The Exterminators. It assigns you a neighborhood of six houses. In front of each house sit four garbage cans. Other players "toss" a possum into one of the four trashcans in front of one of your six houses. You can see which house, but you get two guesses to figure out which can the possum is in. Each possum has a monetary value. If you guess correctly, you keep the other player's possum AND you get the cash value of that possum. I have 60 possums in my "possum posse" and I have no idea how many friends are playing this game because the application doesn't show you that, but since most of them were already playing "Parking Wars", I would guess that it is a lot!!!

5. Sorority Life - Anyone who knows me from college (Pfeiffer University) will remember that I actively campaigned to keep sororities and fraternities off the campus. I felt strongly that the best part of being at Pfeiffer was the way that you could freely interact with people who were very different from yourself. I believed that a Greek system would not only alienate the oddest among us, but would kill what was most special. So, it is hysterically funny that I am playing this application. I won't waste time explaining this fluff of a "game". It is point and click and increase various values. I have twenty-seven "sisters", all complete strangers.

6. Safari Scrap - This ridiculous little game allows the player to pick an animal and "train" them to scrap against the animals who belong to other players. The "scrap" consists of clicking on a button. If your animal's point value is greater than the other player, you win! Winning scraps increases your animal's point value. You can also increase your animal's point value by "training", which takes money. You earn money by having more friends playing the game. I have 130 "friends" playing this game.

7. Animal Kingdom - This game allows you to hide a "trap" on the land of each friend who is also playing the game. Check your traps frequently and find new animals that you have caught. They go in your zoo. I have 94 "friends" playing this game.

8. Hatchlings - This game is similar to Scavenger Hunt in that there are eggs hidden throughout facebook, including on the main pages of any friends who happen to be playing! Each egg that you collect hatches into a pet. New eggs are added regularly. I have 205 "friends" playing this game.

I can't lie. There are others. But I have lost interest in them. Interestingly enough, it only takes me about 30 minutes to check all of the game areas. Scavenger Hunt takes a bit longer. Hatchlings takes FOREVER, so I rarely go egg hunting. I'm really not interested enough to spend a long time on facebook playing the games, which takes me to my next confession.

Confession Number Three: I'm not interested enough to stay on facebook a really long time. But even an hour each day seems like a lot to me. I have noticed that some of my "friends" have amassed such a long list of "friends" that it would take them over an hour to check each friend's page to see if they have an egg that is needed for Hatchlings. They start at the top of the list and go all the way through, then start over. They might do that all day long. I know this because they change their status to "I have been searching for the seahorse egg since 7 a.m. and I still have not found it. Can anyone help?" (Players can gift other players with eggs that they find.) Yikes! Now THAT is an addiction!!! (I am not immune to a total addiction like that because I once spent 12-14 hours per day playing World of Warcraft. Now I am down to playing an hour per week.)

Confession Number Four: If someone gifts you with an item from any of the scavenger type games, it is expected that you will post a thank-you on that person's wall. I was raised right, so I do this, but I find it to be a rather silly custom in this setting. Some players are so tied to this notion that they have responded to my "thank you" with a message that informs me that since I thanked them, they will keep me on their list of people to send such gifts to, which tells me that they remove people from the list if a thank you is not received. That'll teach 'em!!!

Confession Number Five: I have spent some time contemplating whether to invite an old college aquaintance to be a "friend" just so I could add her to some of these applications. That would be the only reason I would do it because we had a falling out in college after I outed her as being the lesbian lover of a dear friend of mine who was anguished over this person openly dating a male friend of ours in a "chaste" relationship, but secretly sleeping with this lesbian friend, who was NOT closeted. She eventually married the male friend.No big surprise that I was not invited, even though I had been friends with the fella much longer than she had! It was really none of my business and I should have kept my mouth shut, but at the time it felt like I was supporting my unhappy friend. I have no idea whether the other gal ever came to terms with her sexual orientation, but I suspect that she will not be interested in being my facebook friend or even my facebook "friend". So as each of my other friends (who have either forgotten the incident or thought it wasn't a big deal) send her name to me as a friend suggestion, I ignore the suggestions. I suspect she is doing the same.

Confession Number Six: Each day when I first log in to facebook, I am excited about the possibility that I might have a new friend request from an old friend or a former student. Locating and interacting with some of these old friends and students has really lifted my spirits during a very stressful time in my life!

(Before anyone gets worried, I have created special security groups for my "friends". They don't have access to anything. They can't even post on my wall.)

So, I suppose the jury is still out. Though I am absolutely powerless to stop myself from checking my facebook every day, I also get the most thrill out of the discovery of an old friend and I bore quickly with the applications I have added. So maybe I am still safe. What do you think?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

skin color - the remarkable truth

This morning I was listening to "All Things Considered" on National Public Radio. I heard the most fascinating presentation titled "Your Family May Once Have Been a Different Color". The author was Robert Krulwich, who contributes a regular column - "Krulwich On Science". He presented the research done by Nina Jablonski, head of the Penn State Department of Anthropology.

According to Jablonski, skin color is a very fleeting thing, changing over the course of as few as ten generations, depending on the migration patterns of human groups over the course of time. As groups migrate away from the Equator, skin evolves to be lighter in order to let in more UV rays to create vitamin D. As groups migrate towards the Equator, skin evolves to be darker in order to protect it against UV rays and the associated skin cancer.

Given the enormous importance that we place on skin color, it all seems to be absolutely ridiculous in light of this research. Why does anyone care? And thinking about it that way makes you really question those fringe elements that almost celebrate their skin color as a religion. All of them are probably related to someone who was the opposite color!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

free association

I stole this from Unconscious Mutterings ( The idea is to free associate from the words that are provided for me. Here we go:
  1. Take :: five
  2. 350 :: 50 MORE well-muscled, almost naked men!
  3. Stand :: tall
  4. Raspberry :: oops
  5. Turnstile :: panic
  6. Infomercial :: Booooooorrrrrriiinnnnngggggg
  7. Dejected :: down in the dumps
  8. What’s the word? :: ambidextrous
  9. Awestruck :: idol
  10. Smashed :: pumpkin

Well, that was interesting. I have no idea where ambidextrous came from. It just popped into my head. My brother is ambidextrous. Maybe he is sitting on the back burner of my brain.

long shot

The Arizona Cardinals are in the Super Bowl today. Eight months ago, only the most diehard fans would have predicted it. I lived in Phoenix for a number of years. The Cardinals were the comfortable punchline to many a joke, with everyone sharing a knowing laugh. We were accustomed to our team being the laughingstock of pro football. But I think I know why the Cardinals have gained the confidence to get to the Super Bowl. It's their stadium in Phoenix.

My son worked at the Cardinals stadium. Due to a huge pot of money, the stadium actually has a huge sign on it that proclaims it to be the "University of Phoenix Stadium", which is just stupid. There is no connection between the Cardinals and UoP except that pot of money spent to put their name on the front of the stadium.

The stadium itself is pretty fancy. There are 63,400 permanent stadium seats, but more can be added to reach a maximum of 72,200. If you lined those seats up side by side, you would have 18 miles of seats. Wow! My son's job was to work with a team of men to transform the stadium from one venue type to another. So, on one day the stadium was configured to accomodate a football game. Then presto, chango and you have a huge conference space that offers 160,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space.

The coolest thing though, is the retractable grass field. It is the first of its kind. The tray that slides in and out of the stadium weighs 18.9 million pounds. It sits outside the stadium most of the time, to take advantage of the air and sun. When it is in motion, it travels at a speed of 11.5 feet per minute. Some people ask what the point of the moving field is. Why don't they just use the retractable roof? The stadium designers claim that having the retractable field saves $50,000,000 in costs over a retractable roof.

The roof is interesting too, though. It's made out of a "Bird-Air" fabric that gives an open feeling even when the roof is closed. It is beautiful. The outside of the stadium looks like a giant barrel cactus. I've driven by it many times on my way home from the airport on the 101.

Anyway, I think having this very cool stadium makes the players proud. And that makes them better players. And that is part of why they are in the Super Bowl this year. What would really be cool is if they could be in the next Super Bowl that is scheduled to take place in their own stadium.

Given this blog entry, I suppose I have clearly communicated for whom I am rooting today!