Saturday, February 14, 2015


Okay, so I have you buy enough with the couples quiz. here is an assignment from Victoria Moran's nook, "Younger by the Day." She writes:"Just for fun, took up St. Valentine and learn the history of his holiday."


For Valentine’s Day here are two lists. The first eleven names are famous wives. The second group of names lettered a -k are famous husbands. See if you can match the husband with the wife. If you don’t know who someone on the list is or was, please look him or her up. This is an educational blog.

For each of the ladies mentioned in the first list, you will find her famous husband in the second list.

It has been said there is a woman behind every successful man. Let me add there is a man behind every successful woman.

I will have the answers tomorrow which is a play day. But if you choose to skip tomorrow, please come back the day after that.

You may also email for answers.


1. Elizabeth Barrett

2. Anne Boleyn

3. Julia Dent

4. Amelia Earhart

5. Linda Eastman

6. Farrah Fawcett

7. Alice Hathaway lee

8. Bonnie Parker

9. Alice Roosevelt

10.. Eleonore Roosevelt

11. Joanne Woodward


a. Clyde Barrow

b. Robert Browning

c. Ulysses S. Grant

d. Henry VIII of England

e. Nicholas Longworth

f. Lee Majors

g. Paul McCartney

h. Paul Newman

i. George Putnam

j. Franklin Delano Roosevelt <

k. Teddy Roosevelt

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Friday, February 13, 2015


In this post guest blogger, Patrick Mathieson, answers the question: What is the best way to structure self-education after graduating form college and working full time? This post originally appeared in Quora.

Welcome my first guest blogger.

If you try to set up a comprehensive self-education program all at once, you run the risk of stumbling, missing your ambitious learning goals, and becoming discouraged.

IMO, the better tactic is to develop the habit of learning new things every day. The best way I know to do that is to read constantly. And the best way to read constantly is to always have a book (or books) right next to your bed.

This is what my bedside drawer looks like right now:

When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is grab a coffee and pick up a book. When I go to bed at night, the last thing I do is floss -- and then pick up a book. You can see from the above photo that there's not much rhyme or reason to the book selections... just stuff I think is interesting. Every few months I blow a hundred bucks on Amazon and add 7 or 8 titles to my stack.

(Interestingly, you mentioned "neuroscience, mathematics, coding, critical thinking, behavioral economics" in your question details... you might actually enjoy a few of the books you see above.)

I'm sympathetic to the idea that reading materials should be coordinated in an effort to make a "structured self-education" program... but I also recognize that the human brain craves diversity and gets bored easily. Personally, I find it more productive to focus less on what I'm reading, and focus more on reading consistently. If you regularly read books for an hour or two every day (which isn't hard... squeezing in 45 minutes of reading over coffee and breakfast is my favorite part of the day), you can burn through 20 or 30 or 40 books in any given calendar year. That's enough to digest all the seminal works in whichever field you think will help most in your career and still have time for Harry Potter and 50 Shades of Grey.

That said... Quora is a pretty awesome place to learn new things, too. If you can sneak in 30 minutes of Quora-ing in addition to everything I wrote above --- you'll be in good shape. Good luck.

Thursday, February 12, 2015


Abraham Lincoln was an un-schooler. He did not sit in a classroom all day watching a teacher write on a blackboard. He was not surrounded by bullies and class clowns.

In doing manual labor and farm chores, he stayed healthy and fit. In the evenings he read books. Just obtaining a book was difficult for him, but he did find books to read and he engaged his mind with writers and thinkers. As an adult he was a self-taught attorney. Lincoln was in charge of his own schooling, and he received a great education because learning was important to him.

He did not have a teacher or classmates to make fun of his size or belittle his love of learning. We all know bullying is wrong, but schools have not been able to stop it.

Lincoln was fortunate, but today’s students can be fortunate too. Learn more about un—schooling for your children and for yourself. un-schooling could be is a path to life long learning.

Happy birthday, President Lincoln. He was born 206 years ago.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015


In the the Southeastern Michigan area where I live, we have Smart buses and School buses. The Smart busses are public transformation. School busses, of course, transport students to and from the daily prison we call school.

These busses seem a great analogy for two types of education. There is the school system that has existed in American since Horace Mann advocated disciplinary action and Prussian military school methods in the early 19th century. We have not much changed our model of schooling since then.

Outside of the school system, there are a million ways to learn. I have detailed a few of them here in my blog. There is a growing movement in this country called “unschooling.” It means getting an education away from the proms, sports, fashion shows and other distractions present in many school systems.

Let’s look at the analogy of busses.

School busses go the school. (Duh!)

Smart busses go to malls, museums, libraries and courthouses.

School busses carry bullies and other immature beings like class clowns.

Smart busses carry committed adults.

School busses go a place where learning is difficult.

Smart busses go to places where learning is fun and natural.

School busses have flying gum wrappers, globs of chewed gum, spitting and even kicking.

Smart busses have people reading or speaking to each other in respectful tones.

School busses cost tax payers millions of dollars every year.

Smart busses are an intelligent alternative to gas guzzling commutes.

I am not saying we should place our children on public transportation and let them spend the day doing whatever they want. Un-schooling is not completely unstructured. But it is an alternative to the failed school systems in America.

In the next several weeks I will talk more about home schooling, the granny cloud, and other nontraditional systems of education.

It is time to decide if we will continue to ride the school bus or get on the smart bus.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Learning Hack of the Day: Carry Essential Books

What books are needed on a student's Kindle or bookshelf. Today it is easy to carry a dictionary, several encyclopedias, all of our textbooks and a favorite novel in our purses. With Kindle readers, we don't need to have our book bag weighed down. But the question remains what books, do we need?

That depends on your lessons. A business student needs very different books from a pre med student. Talk to teachers. Read reviews of your textbooks. What other books has the author written? What extra reading does your professor recommend?

I will make a few useful suggestions for any student.

1. Books on alternative uses for household items. These books show you how to reuse items, and problem solve.

2. Books on memory and accelerated learning. I try to cover most of the techniques here in my blog, but I might miss a few and there are hundreds of books out there on the art of memory and learning.

3. a novel. We learn from characters in books as they go about living in society and solving their problems. Novels are filled with great characters and learning experiences.

4. A book on argument fallacies. These include ad hominem, post hoc and hasty generalization. There are lots of these fallacies. As you read about them, look for examples in daily speech and news reporting.

5. A book of daily intellectual meditations. A fact a day. Sure if you are taking classes,and you already have enough to learn, but try to broaden your learning horizons with a book that gives you more. Some are in the form of fact a day calendars.Look at the daily word in

6. Your daily journal.

Of course, don't limit the books either in your kindle or on your book shelf. A writer friend of mine has a book on how to exit sinking ship. He says he has not had to use it for reference yet, but one never knows when one of his characters might have to exit a sinking ship. Of course, that book may not be available in Kindle yet. So we still have to keep some volumes on our shelfs.

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Monday, February 9, 2015


Economist Paul Krugman is right when he claims that nobody understands debt. Here he tries to explain it.

If you are worried about your grandchildren having to pay the current debt, worry instead about them finding jobs in the age of robotics. That will be their real challenge.

Alexander Hamilton argued successfully for a national debt because then other countries will have a stake in America.

Here Krugman points out that government debt is money borrowed from itself. If I take money from my purse and put it into a checking or saving account, I am not in debt.

Students, whatever your major or interests, it is important to understand the debt; it will make you a better voter and a better citizen. Let Paul Krugman explain it.


Nobody is perfect. The television star with the perfect makeup and hair has a staff of professionals fussing with her all day. The student who seems to get the right answers all the time either knows as many learning hacks as I do, or he studies constantly. When I was growing up, I knew two couples who seemed to have perfect marriages. That is the image they presented to the outside world. Both marriages ended in divorce.

Some people do want to hide their imperfections. We all want to be well-groomed and to always do the best job we can. But perfection does not exist. I understand that some carpet weavers purposely leave in imperfections. Only God is perfect.

That said let me tell you about my day yesterday, with an exert from my journal.

My day: Cinco the cat pooped in the bathtub; Tiki the dog had to go out, but the screen door was frozen shut. I put her on a leash and took her out the front door. I started to take out a plastic bag of garbage, but it broke open on the kitchen floor. I did a load of laundry, but Cinco the cat wanted to get in the dryer. I had to lock him in a bedroom. He was mad and at me, but he got over it. I finally got to my blog, to my novel and then to relaxation and reading.

Granted my day was messy, but my description of it was honest.

Here is a review I wrote some time ago of Susan Lucci's autobiography,"All MY Life, A Memoir."

My mother hated Donna Reed because Donna Reed had a perfect life with a beautiful home, perfect hair, perfect husband, perfect children and starched dresses. Her housework was always done. Problems were quickly solved. I never understood my mother's dislike for this beautiful television actress. After all Reed's show was fiction. She was no more perfect than other television wives like June Cleaver, Harriet Nelson or Marjorie Lord who played Danny Tomas's television wife.

When I read Susan's Lucci's biography, I began to understand some of my mother's dislike for Donna Reed. But at least the Stone family, Reed's television family had problems to solve even if they did it too easily. It must be nice to live a perfect life. But I prefer a person who has challenges to face and can overcome those challenges. A perfect life must get boring.

Certainly Susan Lucci is beautiful and talented. But I don't need to read about her to see that. I know there is too much negativity in life, but stories, even true ones, need challenges, and people should change in the course of their lifetimes. None of us start off perfect and stay that way – even Susan Lucci.

It didn't take me long to start disliking Susan Lucci as I read her book.

I didn't like how she described glamorous women who wore furs like Mae West, Lana Turner and Gypsy Rose Lee. I really dislike anyone, celebrity or not, who wears furs. (Later Lucci confesses to loving veal dishes. Does she know how much cruelty goes into making veal? Veal is anemic calf.)But here I digress, this is about poor taste, not perfection. (No pun intended.)

The book became extremely boing mostly because of the perfection in everything. I kept reading and indeed I did find something to like. One of the later chapters was about her costars in “All My Children,” and I enjoyed this chapter. I particularly liked reading about the scene where she and David Canary, one of my favorite actors, had a food fight. I even looked that scene up on YouTube. I was never a steady watcher of the program, so I had not known about that scene before.

Her fan letter to her fans was a great idea, but boring as Susan described her favorite meals and artists.

Lucci's five ways to look taller start with “Wear High Heels.” Her fans are not teenagers. I wear prescription running shoes and visit a podiatrist once a month. I cannot wear high heels. The very thought gives me foot pain. High heels are very unhealthy. Ask any physician about the problems they can cause. What gives with giving fans such unhealthy advice? This is not a teenage magazine. A much better soap opera autobiography came from Lucci's ex costar Ruth Warrick. I read “The Confessions of Phoebe Tyler” years ago. It is a great autobiography.

To read a good book of advice by a celebrity read, “Wear Your Life Well, Use What You have To Get What You Want,” by Marilou Henner. Lucci tends to talk down to her readers. It is like she is lecturing us. We her fans know we are not perfect. Nice of Ms. Lucci to take the time to show us how wonderful life can be when one is perfect.

I like Donna Reed much better.

I believe in self improvement; I don't believe in perfection.

Sunday, February 8, 2015


What is the name of the actor who played Speed in “CSI Miami?” What is the capital of Montana? What is the name of the cat who was the “Napoleon of cats” in the musical “Cats”?

We used to have to try to get the answer from our memories when a questions like that came up. The question might bug us until we could look it up. Nowadays the Internet lets us look up these answers instantly. How will the Internet change our memories? A good way to keep your memory sharp is to review school or recent learning in your mind. I do this when I'm walking the dog or doing the dishes or folding laundry. And if someone comes up to you and asks who sang, “Who put the Bomp in the Bomp Bomp Bomp?”? You should try to remember before you start to google.

Who was George Bush's running mate in 1988?

What two Republican candidates ran against Bill Clinton for the presidency?

What was the name of the television program starring Johnny Depp as a young undercover police officer?

What movie won the Academy Award for best film last year?

Photos are from CBS Television Network Playing cards. From my personal collection.

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