One of my favorite sites:

There’s so many notable ideas, innovations, explorations of color, shape, light, and more in this site,  it’s difficult to pick. . .

For example, here’s one to start with:

Parenting Skills License ?

The idea of some kind of education, practice, and testing on parenting skills has considerable merit.  However:

The core problem with comparing a child license to a driver’s license is the “right vs privilege” clause.

Given variance in parental decisions, including circumcision, sleep and curfew times, home vs public or private schooling, use of leisure time, vaccination, food decisions, etc. ; having a bureaucrat in some agency decide that you were a bad parent, revoke your “license”,  and exercise its authority to A) Prevent your reproducing , or B) Take away custody rights,  could quickly and draconianly become a nightmare.

A less invasive system might be one based on rewards, rather than punishment by removal of basic rights.  For example, a discount on health care, free or discount/upgrade tickets to sporting or community events, membership in clubs or community pool,  after passing parental exam.

On the other hand, in cases where there has been abuse or neglect, especially if the kids have been put into the social services for some reason, having an available authorized official  parental class would give the parents a way to redeem themselves, get on track,  give some measurable way to “prove ” that they deserved another chance at parenting,  and provide a clear path toward getting custody of their kids back.

In Response to:

xpost of my comment: page-4/#comment-263345


Problem Solving – Cat Poison

Some of the elements in the Bole city problem-solving scenario work, other elements not so much:
  • Putting stray cats to work, instead of eating or euthanizing them: WIN
  • Effective method for controlling rat population outbreak:  WIN
  • Combo use of rat poison with release of cats into the rat area: FAIL
The common types of poison which kill or disable rats will also poison the animals that eat the poisoned rats.  So the most productive of the cats will die horrible internal bleeding deaths.
just sayin’
Re: Associated Press

Stray cat ‘army’ battles west China rodent plague

BEIJING (AP) — Stray cats rounded up in a remote west China city are being used to catch rodents that have infested surrounding pasture lands.

Some 150 strays — dubbed by Chinese media as the “cat army” — were turned loose on the range lands outside Bole city in May to fight what the government calls a plague of rats. The state-run Xinhua News Agency says that the cats were brought in, along with tons of poisonous rat pellets.

The Bole government said in late June that rat holes had decreased by more than half. The Xinhua report on Friday quoted a Bole official as saying the cats were proving valuable.

Rodents and other pests have grown more troublesome on the vast grasslands as a result of overgrazing and killing off traditional predators like foxes.

Talk to Him

Recently, someone died alone.

Some people say he should have been “involuntarily committed”.

What about just talking with him.  Maybe sit for a bit.  Invite him over to tea or coffee on your porch.

Maybe gently edge on over, weeding one’s own yard, and help him with his.

Ask him what he likes to do.

Read a book with him.

Work the conversation around to check on what meds he’s taking.  Maybe some had side effects or weren’t working out well.

Maybe just sit together for a spell.

Ask him about politics, philosophy.

Yeah, ok he had a hygiene problem. Maybe more than that.  That’s what front porches are for. (well, maybe not for some of the things he was doing on his front porch.) I meant getting out in the air – if someone has a problem, from med side effects or whatever, that’s too much in an enclosed space,  it could help to talk out in the air and upwind of them. . .

Figure it out people – help them extricate from the vicious circle of being lost, and not knowing how to make themselves useful and connect with others.

The Duck Paradox

Of all the riddles I heard (or told) as a kid, the one I remember best is:

” What’s the difference between a duck ? “

As some of you know, a frequent answer to this is ” One leg is both the same. “

What makes this funny ?

Is it true  ?

What answers does one find if contemplated as a Koan ?

When using the duck question in a clown act I used to do, I often added:

So, what do you get when you find two of them ?

You have a paradox [ducks]

Googling, found a surprising quantity of references to it. One writer presents an interesting paper on questions and consciousness, which [spoiler alert] adding to the paradox, also does not answer the duck question:


Doing it Once

With many projects and people attempting to grab attention,  deciding when to handle is often the first question.

Actually, a prior question could be ” Is this something that I want to do,  and/or is it something that I should do ? “

Should is a loaded word for some people – in this context I mean it not so much about what others think I should do,  but as a definition of what my own choices are on what projects I am taking on, what I am investing my attention and resources in,  and whether something falls within my overall values and priorities.

Another important question – is this something, either in content or by the time it will displace, that supports a secondary value but interferes with a primary value, or will get in the way of accomplishing a higher priority item ?

Not to get bogged in thought on any of the above,  with practice a nanosecond suffices.

Additional inspiration: The Zen Habits tip for deciding to do something now:

If it passes my personal “should” test,  then decisively giving it my full attention, doing it now, not having to “move it around”, physically or in my head, multiple times, will be the way to keep things from piling up. Handle it once so it gets done sooner, with the results adding benefit to me and others.

If it doesn’t pass my want or should test, then just get rid of it, or return to sender so they don’t keep sending more.  Handle it once so it doesn’t take up more of my time and resources, remove the distraction to my priority projects, with the added benefit of potentially redirecting the other entity’s resources toward something more productive.


Compromise vs Defined Resulters

The results of the recent congressional debate and legislation on the debt ceiling and US budget highlight a chasm between those who work with others by communication and compromise, and those who have a fixed product, goal, or benchmark that they insist on seeing others comply with.

One way of resolving issues is by communicating more, by sitting down with each other and speaking and listening.

An opposite way of attempting to resolve issues is by cutting communication when there is a perceived lack of compliance, walking away, often accompanied by a perception the other “side” is inadequate or deficient in some way because they don’t “get” it.

Clearly there can be operational conflicts between these two methods.  By “operational conflict”  I mean a conflict or problem in the basic or meta mechanism, in this case a communication style, being used to achieve an end-result product or concept.

There is a place for both methods.

During a situation of an absolutely intolerable problem – for example abuse, where one person is striking the other, it makes sense to make an absolute statement and/or just walk away.

But on the other hand, how about a situation where the key element is preserving the relationship between the participants, and the specific issue or item on the table is not life threatening ?

Work vs Allowance

It’s healthier to work and be a part of creating the world than just receive stuff for free.

So, I hired my teenage son.

Yes, it’s working out.

True, he doesn’t live primarily at my house.  He lives with his dad. So that creates a bit of separation, re: roles and schedules and the layered entanglements that come with living with someone.

I hired him on a tiered pay schedule – working “as an adult” is one pay level, “like a teenager” is another, and “not working” is not time I pay for. His pay is graduated on a sliding scale between these levels depending on his actual production, general work ethic, focus and communication skills.

I decide, as his boss while he’s doing paid work, which level he’s being paid for during any segment of time, and we have open communication where I let him know how I arrived at those figures.  Yes I am merciless, but I first and primarily emphasize telling him what he did well at, and thank him for the work he did.

The first day went really well.  The second not so much. Since then it’s been smoothing out pretty dramatically, getting more predictable and even keel for both of us each day we work together. More getting done, less supervision needed, shorter sweeter end/pay conversations.

A big big benefit:  no guilt, no manipulation.   Now nor in future when we get older. He doesn’t need to ask me for funds for things he needs, I don’t “should” him with pro bono obligations for things I need help taking care of.