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This Inquiring Mind Wants to Know (cont'd)

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Wednesday July 27/11

This Inquiring Mind wants to Know...

Why Congress and The House Don't Just Take A Nap!!!
July 26, 2011
Restorative Slumber
The Importance of Napping
A short nap during the afternoon is common in many countries and can provide an energy boost and clearer senses.

As we focus on the many obligations we gladly undertake in order to create the lives we want, sleep is often the first activity that we sacrifice. We're compelled by both external and internal pressures to be productive during many of our waking hours. While this can lead to great feats of accomplishment, it also disrupts the body's natural cycles and leaves us craving rest. Napping represents a pleasurable remedy to this widespread sleep deprivation. Though judged by many as a pastime of little children or the lazy, the need for a nap is a trait that all mammals share and an acceptable part of the day in many countries. It is also a free and effortless way to improve our health and lift our spirits. A nap is relaxing and can improve our mood, vision, reflexes, and memory.


Lack of sleep, whether ongoing or the result of a single night's wakefulness, puts stress on the body and mind. It can negatively impact your physical and mental health. At one time, napping was considered a natural part of life. In the past hundred years, however, electricity and modern conveniences have provided us with more time to engage in personal and professional activities. Consequently there is now less time for sleep. A mere ten minutes of sleep in the middle of the day can leave you feeling more cheerful and alert. A half-hour long nap can sharpen your senses and refresh your energy reserves, and a shorter nap can even sustain you through a long day. Napping can help you make up for lost sleep and serves as a supplement to your usual sleep schedule. You may need to give yourself permission to nap by making naptime a part of your day.


Feelings of guilt about napping or being preoccupied with other activities can keep you awake when you are trying to take a nap. If you need help, surround yourself with soft pillows and blankets or soothing music. Try to take a nap at the same time each day and use an alarm clock to ensure that you don't fall into too deep a sleep. Learning to nap and enjoying its benefits can help you reclaim your natural right to nap. You nourish your being every time you take a nap.

SO, This Inquiring Mind Wants to Know why Napping wasn't included in Health Care Reform? The bill would have passed in a heartbeat!

Maybe this is what we should propose to the House and the Senate debating the Debt Crisis--





Wednesday July 20/11

This Inquiring Mind Wants to Know...
So, let’s understand this. We now have, besides an alcohol, texting, and phoning problem—a marijuana quandary while driving. Surprise, surprise!

There is a uniform blood alcohol limit over which we can be charged with driving under the influence.  We can be pulled over and fined for texting and phoning. But how would law enforcement enforce a Driving Under The Influence of Marijuana law? How would a police officer determine what level of high was okay? How would they objectively measure it?

But regardless, the problem with legalizing a substance that alters perception, reflexes, and focus is precisely that it alters perception, reflexes, and focus. Do we really want that happening while driving a vehicle? Do we really want inexperienced drivers who just got their licenses 3 hours ago, adding marijuana to their already jumbled mix of distractions?  Do we want to have to worry about our fellow workers driving home tired and high? 

And furthermore, This Inquiring Mind Wants to Know why, on the one hand, is there this push to legalize marijuana, while we tax and regulate up the kazoo, regular cigarettes?  What am I missing here?  I’ll take second hand smoke at the bar over a pot-smoking driver in my right hand lane any day! 

It is enough that too many people, across the board, are already poor drivers, and /or sleeping, drinking and multi-tasking in their cars.  Add marijuana to the mix and you have one ugly, dangerous high that can neither be monitored nor regulated.
So, don't let friends drive drunk. Don't let friends drive high.  And if they are taking medicinal marijuana, throw away the keys!


 Wednesday July 13/11

This Inquiring Mind Wants to Know...
What Alien Designed This Airline Blanket?

I was excited to fly out to California. I was going to visit my childhood friend for a long weekend. The best part was I had lots of miles, so this was to be a girls night in, free! I was used to flying Jet Blue to visit my son in college. This was my first time on American Airlines to the West Coast.

I find my window seat.  There is a blanket wrapped in a plastic bag on it.  How nice I think. Maybe later.  I settle in with my newspaper and magazines.  As the flight progresses the plane gets colder and colder. I am reminded of my travels to New York on the Acela wondering how Amtrak managed to build a more expensive and modern train that blew a draft of cold air from above right onto the passenger luckless enough to have the window seat.  If it were not for the points, and the time, I would have been much warmer and more comfortable on a Regional.

So, here I am with my free miles flying to California. I would not complain. But I did need another layer. I unwrap and open up the blanket. Something is not right. Maybe there is another layer of blanket to open. I look around to see if anyone else has opened up his or her blanket. I look back at mine. It looks just like theirs.

Okay I will try to make this work. I cover my legs. I pull the blanket up and try to get it around my shoulders. That will clearly not work.  I have to make a choice.  It is either my legs or my shoulders. All the while I am thinking this is a free flight. I am lucky to be going to California. Why should it matter that a stewardess -I kid you not- looking like the night of the living dead-comes up the aisle and asks if I want anything to drink, offers me tea in a styrofoam cup-once-the whole flight. But, the cabin is cold.  I am cold, so I need to make this work.

I reconfigure this blanket a number of times trying to be very discreet so as not bother the passenger in the middle seat, who does not seem cold and is lost in a book.

Then I take a long hard look at the blanket.  Wait a minute. Yes, this is a free flight. Yes, I am lucky to be going to California, lucky to have any blanket, there are people with nothing, starving and freezing, and yes I can survive the night of the living dead stewardess and one cup of tea but my Inquiring Mind takes over. It will not let me be. And it wants to shout out --Who designs a passenger blanket with dimensions of about 2.5 ft by 10ft?  Do we have visitors from other galaxies who have come to live here on earth and work at American Airlines?  Is the night of the living dead stewardess one of them?  All I can say is that this walk-the-plank size blanket could not have covered any human!


I saw dead people. I saw alien blankets! And when we landed in SF, I felt I had landed back onto earth-albeit absolutely frozen!  So, E.T’s if you are listening out there—You might want to take a good look at us earthlings. And if your leader could come around at least one more time and offer more tea, that would be nice too!


  Wednesday June 29/11

This Inquiring Mind Wants to Know...

Why We Put Our Bucket List In Storage?
I went to a lovely funeral service yesterday in honor of a dedicated family man, brilliant scientist, loyal friend, consummate humorist, and obsessed trivia buff.  The varied stories told about him were both funny, and poignant. The most profound statement, however, came from his wife who said that even though her husband’s life had been cut way too short by a brain tumor, he did not need a bucket list. He lived it.

I have a long bucket list I have yet to check off. I know my husband has one too. And I’ll bet if I asked most peers our age, they too would say—oh, yes, there is a bucket-a large one!  But rather than reviewing what my bucket list was,  I  found myself pondering where it was.

This Inquiring Mind Wants to Know
why most of us tend to put our bucket list in storage-always with the thought that when we finally clean out our inner chaos and clutter, we will get to it. Practicality, obligations, and financial constraints become on-going reasons for leaving it there. But, if we knew we were going to die , wouldn’t  we pull that bucket out from beneath the thick dust of  daily necessities,  and choose at least one thing from it to see, or do? 

The idea that we should live as if we were going to die tomorrow is not new. Lots of people have talked about it.  But, hearing today, from a grateful wife that her husband had lived such a full life, was a very compelling reminder.

I sat on the train from New Jersey back to DC taking stock.  I concluded that while life is filled with comedy and tragedy, joys and sorrows, accomplishments and failures, loss and gain, clarity and confusions, it should not be filled with collected regrets.  So, staring out the window, I vowed to take my own bucket list out of storage and keep it front and center before me.  I realized that my regrets will not collect from what I did right or wrong, but rather from what I didn’t try or risk.  

Hello, bucket list. Nice to see you…


Monday June 28/11

This Inquiring Mind Wants to Know...

When Will We Let Our Children Really Grow Up?
I read How to Land Your Kid in Therapy: Why the Obsession with Our Kids' happiness May Be Dooming Them To  Unhappy Adulthoods. by
Lori Gottlieb in the July/August 2011  The Atlantic  This is an excellent article on why parental emotional pampering does children an enormous disservice. When I wrote my on-line book: H20 to Go! How to Raise Emotionally Resilient Children with Heart, Humor & Optimism it was the end product of views I had held for many years, and articles I had written on my site-way before this generation reared its co-dependent head. Back then, I was committed to the belief that emotional resilience and maturity were far greater indicators of future emotional health and career success than intelligence and status. I was not only before my time but also without either a clinical psychologist's credentials, or research. Don't ask me how I knew, I just knew from my own observations and experiences with kids and parents.  I am grateful for Ms. Gottlieb's observations, research and findings.
I listen to upper middle class parents tell me about their 18 ear old 'teacups'. This is a phrase, according to Wendy Mogel, (A clinical psychologist in Los Angeles who became an advisor to schools all over the country) coined by college deans for incoming freshman who Gottlieb writes are 'so fragile that they break down anytime things don’t go their way.' So, we are rearing a society of young, upper middle class ‘teacups’ who shy away from learning on their feet, whose parents are unwilling to let them fall, get back up and discover they can still walk! Have upper middle class parents become so much of a collective advance team that their kids have no idea what they could really accomplish on their own?
Ms Gottlieb has provides ample research and citations. Dan Kindlon, a child psychologist and lecturer at Harvard states: It’s like the way our body’s immune system develops. You have to be exposed to pathogens, or your body won’t know how to respond to an attack". Jeff Blume, a family psychologist in Los Angeles believe that  "a kid needs to feel normal anxiety to be resilient". Jean Twenge co-author of The Narcissism Epidemic, and professor of Psychology at San Diego State University states that "Research shows that much better predictors of life fulfillment and success are perseverance, resiliency and reality testing qualities that people need so they can navigate the day-to-day". Yes! Yes! Yes!
In H20 to Go! I mention the one emotion we parents should never show our young children. It is Fear. Our children need to see us fearless, (So, at times, we have to become really good actors!) They draw strength from our strength. And I always say to parents-Look, if it looks like everyone is going to die, then it doesn’t make much difference! You're better off saying-you'll be okay, we are going to make it through. When they grow older, they have this instilled faith when they confront stumbles, falls and setbacks. Gottlieb herself concludes: ",,,by trying so hard to provide the perfectly happy childhood, we're just making it harder for our kids to actually grow up.  Maybe we parents are the ones who have some growing up to do-and some letting go."
Every time we interfere with our children's lives and try to smooth every pothole, what we are really doing is telegraphing fear. We are saying --I am afraid for you. I am afraid you will mess up. I am afraid you will fail. I do not have faith that you can make it through without support, and I do not really believe you can figure this out on your own. So, not only do we dumb down our kids (believe me they can figure out a whole lot more than we give them credit for) but we also signal to them that they’re not strong enough to survive, work through or past a problem. If we don’t believe they can, how are they going to believe they can!
Summer is a wonderful time to take stock. Parents will be helping their children transition from one grade to the next. This is a perfect time to reevaluate how much smoothing of the way we want to do come the fall and the next school year. I continue to believe that until a child is 10, he/she should be nurtured as much as possible, and surrounded by as many positive models as is possible. But once children enter 6th grade the focus must change. It is then time for them to concentrate on their work not the people responsible for the work. There will be nice and fair teachers and not nice and unfair teachers (Just like Mom’s or Dad’s employers) That is life. Kids need to learn not only to accept that but also how to deal with their given lot so they don't get stuck in victimhood. The same goes for sports. They will win at a few games and lose a lot more. Losses and slumps are inevitable. Failure is inevitable. No true success will come without failure so we want kids to accept failure, learn from it and move on. As Jean Twenge says in Ms. Gottlieb’s article: if the kid participates in activities where he gets stickers for ‘good tries’ he never gets negative feedbck on his performance. (All failures are reframed as ‘good tries") We do not want to redefine loss and failure. We want to let kids look at it straight in the face and learn from it. They will figure out for themselves what works and what doesn't.
All we need to do for our children is to teach them empathy and a responsibility to a community larger than self, offer alternate comic ways to view reality, provide a wider lens of perspective and constantly reaffirm our faith in their ability to figure it out, and make it on their own. Every parent can do it. Heart, humor, Optimism. H20 to Go! If we do not allow our children to grow up we will be rearing a whole graduated 'teacup' generation of-what I have dubbed -'adult toddlers'. We will become so overly and seriously invested in our children’s emotional fragility, that they have will have no clue how to shrug off  and  handle their future lives on their own.


One last comment on Atlantic's choice of a cover title. There is positive self-esteem and negative self-esteem. But, healthy self-esteem is important to fuel motivation, optimism and emotional strength. Rather, I would have renamed the cover -How The Cult of Coddling Is Ruining Our Kids. As defined in the Dictionary, to coddle means: To treat too protectively or indulgently. I think that covers it! Literally!
Ms. Gottlieb’s article is a thought provoking and insightful view of the consequences of emotional pampering. For ideas on how to develop emotional resilience, especially in middle school, scroll down to the H20 Box and click onto the H20 Contents Page.



Wednesday June 15/11

This Inquiring Mind Wants to Know...

Why Can’t Saturday Night Live Be As Funny As Bridesmaids?
I went to see Bridesmaids  not expecting more than an escapist two hours. What I saw was a terrifically funny film directed by Paul Feig, well written, by Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo (nervous woman ion the plane) and wonderfully acted by  Kristen Wiig,(Bride’s best friend) Maya Rudolph (Bride) both from Saturday Night Live and Rose Byrne (New best friend)

I have never warmed to Kristen’s eccentric, neurotic characters on SNL. Nor, did I think the skits themselves were particularly funny. I have talked to many of my peers who go back to the golden years of SNL with Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Chris Farley, Father Guido Sarducci (Finda the Pope in the Pizza) and Rosannadanna’s news reports. SNL could never end their skits well. But who cared! They were too much fun to watch! 

SNL is not funny anymore.  Outside of Tina Fey and Amy Polar’s political satire, SNL has nothing really interesting to offer. I see better humor in Sports Center commercials!  Every week I hope for better, and every week I am not only disappointed, but the humor gets more and more crude and sophomoric, as if high schoolers were sitting around thinking up scenarios.

But then, there was Wiig on the big screen having co-written a mature screen play and playing an emotionally mixed up best friend of the bride with nuance, control, depth, and great comic timing. So, this Inquiring Mind Wants to Know why all this talent cannot translate to SNL.  Where are the great skits, and really funny characters?

I am so happy for Wiig and Rudolph that they created such a great showcase.
And in my opinion, Bridesmaids is the funnies movie I have seen in a long time.
Yes, it has its crude and raunchy moments, but it is truly funny.
Wouldn’t it be great if the always crude and raunchy writing on SNL were also funny!  I keep watching and hoping.



Inquiring Mind Archive




Wednesday May 25/11

This Inquiring Mind Wants to Know How...

Even after Mother Nature Causes Death and Destruction, She Can and Will Always Create Life.
Mother Nature creates glorious sunsets, gorgeous waterfalls,  kingly mountains, brilliantly colored flowers, majestic oceans, and a perfectly pattered butterfly. She can also produce surging tsunamis, sweeping tornados, ferocious hurricanes. explosive volcanoes,  and a devastating crack in the earth.

Mother Nature, in truth, holds a double edge sword that possesses dynamically opposing powers. It can heal and injure; build and destroy; give birth and kill. What Mother Nature giveth over a long time, she can also taketh away in a heartbeat.

She exists as the only force in our universe that truly humbles us. She demands our respect, our fear, and our hope.

This Inquiring Mind Wants to Know, how even after Mother Nature causes death and destruction, she can and will always create Life.  She will bring forth the sun to shine after storms, allow a plant to grow out of the dust, and give Man the power with which to rebuild from rubble and ruin.

To all those impacted by the terrifying and deadly side of Mother Nature, my special prayer that she will now show her savior side and shine down with warmth, hope, miracles and rebirth.
God Bless all affected. And God Bless the children twice.




Wednesday May 18/11

This Inquiring Mind Wants to Know...

Why We Hold Our Young Children's Behavior to a Higher Standard Than Our Adult Peers?

Think about this:

We tell our kids from a very early age to speak Truth--or at least not tell anything more serious than a white lie.
We show our children how to share with others
We insist our children be polite and so we teach them Manners-like please and thank you.
We ask our children to raise their hand and wait to speak  and/or to let someone else finish before interrupting.
We do not want our children to swear or curse.

Very young children have a clear sense of right and wrong because it is so reinforced by parents, caregivers, and teachers. So this inquiring mind wants to Know-- why we hold our young children’s social behavior to a higher standard than our adult peers?  Why does it all dissipate with age?  Where does all that social etiquette go? 

Those same toddlers and pre schoolers so infused with appropriate group behavior become grade school kids and tweens, then teens and young adults. And for many of them, the line between what is right and wrong, what is appropriate and inappropriate, not to mention what is polite and rude grows fuzzier and fuzzier with each developmental stage until at some point, the line simply fades.

At what point is it okay to threaten and curse and swear to get a point across? And, more pointedly, when does it become okay to cheat in a business, or marriage and then say those over used, empty words ‘I am so sorry for what I have done to my family and friends.’ What is the point of teaching our toddlers manners and values if there is later an Adult Pass for that same behavior?

In my book I wrote a whole chapter called
Heart of The Manner wherein I spoke to this point exactly. And I ventured the idea that we parents simply stop reminding our older youth about Manners. Perhaps we parents need to pay as much attention to how our children behave socially, and as we do to how well they do in school. Perhaps we should concentrate less on their A's in the classroom and more about their P's and Q's in the outside world. After all, ask any young person who they truly admire and not only is/was that person a great athlete or artist, dancer or actor, writer or musician or whatever, but also greatly respected as a person.

We parents are out the door and our older kids are much more independent.  We have no idea how they are behaving. They will never tell us if they said thank you to a waitress for bringing the food, or a cashier for bagging groceries or clothes. We will never know if they did or did not let an elderly person have their sit on the subway, or if they held the door for someone older or with packages. Our older teens become us. Do we do all those things? No. We allow each other to get away with a lot of inappropriate behavior.

So This Inquiring Mind Wants to Know when we will do away with this double standard of behavior, and go back to the basics drummed into our toddlers. After all, why should they have to answer to a higher authority and get time outs and not us! It really isn’t fair!
In fact, I wouldn’t blame then if they had a major tantrum over it--in the middle of a crowded supermarket, no less!

Comments to Margo@MomOpinionMatters.Com


Monday May 16


Wednesday May 11

This Inquiring Mind Wants to Know...

'Land of the Stupid? Home of the Brave?'
I was in New York for Mother’s Day weekend. My beloved city was in fine form, bursting with Mama energy and blanketed in beautiful weather. 

On our way to the theatre, my husband and I walked past Times Square, up Broadway amidst throngs of tourists and visitors strolling, shopping and taking pictures. Thenext day, we meandered up Madison Avenue to the Met, and down Fifth to the village.

It was while walking down Fifth Avenue, that my husband suddenly stopped, looked at a store window and laughed. He motioned to me to come look at the ad etched on the glass. I read it. I looked at the store. But, while my husband laughed, I stood shocked! No, the copy was not suggestive, or in poor taste.  But, it was so outrageously hypocritical in theme, that my mouth dropped!

According to

 ‘the section of Fifth Avenue that crosses Midtown Manhattan, especially that between 49th Street and 60th Street, is lined with prestigious shops and is consistently ranked among the most expensive shopping streets in the world.’ It is home to label icons of the world—Tiffany, Cartier, Armani, Versace just to name a few-one after another, with rent, clothes and jewels neither for the faint of wallet nor weak of plastic!

So This Inquiring Mind Wants to Know—Why Diesel Island--a large jean store located at 685 Fifth Avenue (53rd Street) that suggests America is 'the land of the stupid and Diesel Island is 'the home of the brave' would choose to plop itself with all its political and social propaganda in the middle of major conspicuous American consumption-and proclaim the following?
‘Since both Capitalism and Communism have failed,
Diesel Island won’t adopt any system ending with “ism’

Since Capitalism has failed!!!?????
What, Diesel opened its store on Fifth Avenue by stealth methods?  Somehow the CEO landed in the middle of the night bypassing the light of day rent, mark-ups, and profits????!!!! Diesel is not a charity, it is a business! That is to say, sorry guys, it is Capitalistic!  And it exists in the very heart and soul of American Capitalism!

But regardless, there the ad was, bold and clear, written right on the glass on the front of Diesel’s huge store window-
Since both Capitalism and Communism have failed,
Diesel Island won’t adopt any system ending with ism.

This is right up there with the kid who kills his parents and then says,
have mercy on me, your Honor, I am an orphan!
I have an 'Ism' for Diesel. How about Uber Chutzpa-ism!


Comments to Margo@MomOpinionMatters.Com





Wednesday April 28

This Inquiring Mind Wants to Know...

What Is The Real Reason For the School Loudspeaker?
I went to a very small private lower school in New York City. The school existed in a town house with a winding staircase and glass ceiling. Very pretty. Very cozy.
There were no noisy halls, no slamming lockers, and no pre- “glee” like kids  filing out of classes. It was very quiet. I remember that being part of its mission statement-- Quiet. 
I do not remember such when my own son went to pre-school and lower school.
There was always a lot of spirited noise around and about.

But, what did not exist for me, or for my son—even in high school (although I now that it did for many other kids)—was The Third Voice—The Loudspeaker! 
I now live in an area of DC that has a wonderful neighborhood market. My husband and I often go there in the early morning for coffee before my husband goes off, and I come back to my desk.  We sit outside enjoying watching all the school kids arrive by foot, by car, by bus, by bicycle, to the lower public school across the street. As we sit, talking and watching-all of a sudden and loud enough to be heard across the street comes a female voice blasting out a good morning to everyone! And she proceeds to go down a long list of events for the day.  And all of a sudden I feel as if I am in a train station or on an airplane!
And I am going to just come right out and say this. I hate it!


My husband laughs. He says its because I did not go to a big school.
He’s right!   But I know that if I had to listen to that everyday, I would have gone bonkers! I would have probably found a way to disconnect wires!
But it is an efficient way to get information across, and besides the kids are used to it, counters my husband.
I wonder, I reply,  I wonder if kids tune out and do not listen at all and the sound becomes white noise , in which case they do not really absorb what is being said. Or,  maybe it does truly bother them and they react in other ways. I would love to take a survey.
But it offers important information for the teachers too. Continues my husband.
Why do teachers need a The Bull Horn to get information? They have teachers meetings, a teachers’ lounge, faxes and email.
So, This Inquiring Mind Wants to Know what the real purpose for the School Loudspeaker actually is?

Is it to remind all that there really is a big brother or sister watching?
Is it just easier and/or cheaper than posting on bulletin boards or handing out flyers?
Is it a way of virtual gathering of students and teachers instead of assemblies?
(which, by the way, I think is a wonderful way to start the school day)
With all the issues having to do with ADT,  hyperactivity, age appropriate wandering focus, and uncentered thoughts, This Inquiring Mind Wants to Know also whether it might make better sense to have one of those nature sound tapes greeting all  elementary children at the school door? A Zen approach to starting the day might go a lot further in collecting scattering minds than a loud speaker blasting out the day’s events.
Meanwhile, I will have to learn to tune out the Third Voice--need to go ask a child how to do it!

 Comments to Margo@MomOpinionMatters.Com


Wednesday April 6

This Inquiring Mind Wants to Know...

How Do You Say Good-Bye to Seven Literary Years with Harry Potter?
Well, it is over. The last chapter of the last book of the Harry Potter series-read.
I did the rare for me thing-I read in the middle of the day-in order to finish, actually in order to find out how it all ended. I had lived in dread of someone inadvertently spilling the ending in my presence.


My husband bought me the complete Harry Potter series for Christmas. I had started and then stopped because I needed to read other things.  But one of my New Year’s resolutions was to read the series straight through.  This is the only time I have totally kept one of my New Year’s promises!

But now I find myself floating between a Muggle and Wizard world.  I think back on my next door neighbor’s son waiting breathlessly for each new installment.  But I never asked him how he felt when it was all over.  I now wonder how all kids felt after living so long with Harry, watching him grow up, and saying good-bye to his world.

I finished at precisely 2:46 pm on Sunday.  My husband sat across from me deep in the myriad of journals he usually reads before he starts his column. I looked up at him with tears in my eyes.
It’s over.
My husband looked up in sympathy.
I couldn’t believe I would no longer be entering a literary
pensieve like one in Dumbledore’s office and that that Harry and Dumbledore fell through together to relive the past. 

I could now understand why so many have reread the series, and reread it more than once.  It is somewhat like saying good-bye to our kids when they go off to college, except we know we will see them.  But with the Harry Potter series, I have more than watched a boy growing up. I have lived with his fear, and hurt, his rage, and his courage. I have watched him come of age, and all along the way make decisions exactly parallel to where his emotional age. (Kudos to J.K. Rowling’s for her insights in this area!) In fact, in watching Harry Potter grow, we watch a boy forced by circumstances both beyond his control and in his control to come to terms with what he believes, the moral dilemmas he faces, and tough choices he will have to make. It is also a profile in courage, not in the face of an enemy as much as from Harry’s own self-doubt, his deep sadness, his wrenching loss, and his pounding rage.

So, this Inquiring Mind Wants to Know what one does with all the thoughts that linger way after the end of Book Seven?  How did kids let go and get on to other stories? I had a very hard time.  I have, in fact, moved on. But often enough something will take me back to Hogwarts and to Harry and company--
a testament to the power of a story—that no only does it linger, but that a part of it becomes a part of one consciousness.  it is after all about growing up, becoming emotionally mature, accepting responsibility, becoming ethical and making tough moral decisions.

This Inquiring Mind also wants to Know…when my mind will stop thinking there is a separate Muggle world. Maybe I always thought so. When I wrote about spiritualism in my book-
(see Chapter One: Safekeeping Spiritualism ) perhaps that is what I was talking about.
I am grateful to A.K. Rowlings for her ability to so identify and describe a young boy growing up with all the normal angst of teenage hood along with the added burden of having to accept a destiny, and his obligation to it. Harry Potter is the perfect example of growing emotional resilience and maturity with Heart, Humor and Optimism.

Good-bye, Harry Potter. I look forward to reading you again with my own grandchildren. In the meantime, I will think often of you and Hogwarts, and when I write about issues that make absolutely no sense to me, I can now blame them on Muggle mentality! And how I wish I had a wand!!!

Comments to  




Wednesday March 9

This Inquiring Mind Wants to Know...

Where are the Atticuses and Dumbledores?

Atticus Finch from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is one of greatest father figures in all literature history.? Not only does he possess deep empathy and conviction, but also great strength and moral courage:
"The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.

"I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what."

Albus Dumbledore, the all-wise Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Wizardry in J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter series also possesses that same combination of empathy, conviction, strength and moral courage.

"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities
." (From Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets)

"It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends." 


Both Atticus and Dumbledore will  be forced to act on their moral courage. Moreover, both will have to temper young and angry hearts with one more virtue-Perspective.

If you just learn a single trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”"
(Atticus from To Kill a Mockingbird)

"Harry! Don’t you see? Voldemort himself created his worst enemy. Just as tyrants everywhere do!  Have you any idea how much tyrants fear the people they oppress? All of them realize that, one day, amongst their many victims, there is sure to be one who rises against them and strikes back! 

(Dumbledore from Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince)

Moral Courage and Perspective- two great virtues.

For the sake of our children and the world,

I so wish we had more Atticuses and Dumbledores as fathers and as leaders.

Comments to Margo@MomOpinionMatters,Com


Wednesday March 30

This Inquiring Mind Wants to Know...
What If We Humans Had To Build a Nest?
I cleaned out my birdhouse in February. I was stunned at how many twigs had been packed in its round belly. The entrance hole was not that big, and yet, birds had managed to enter and arrange the twigs and make the home a cozy place to give birth.

April is almost here. Soon I will be watching birds fly to and fro, again picking up hundreds of little twigs, and flying them not only to my bird house but to other pre-determined spots in higher corners of branches. And so will begin the annual ritual of building a nest.

This ritual never ceases to amaze me. Some nests will be taller than others, some more symmetrical, but all amazingly well built and habitable. I am in awe of the tenacity and amount of craft that goes into building any nest and how at the mercy of nature’s more violent and unpredictable side the whole procedure is.  And all so a mother bird can warm and lay her eggs.

I have heard newborn little chicks waiting to be fed. I have spied them peering out of the hole of the bird house, I have watched them try take off, wings sputtering up and down with just enough lift to reach another branch. Phew!  But in a matter of days, they are gone! The birdhouse is empty, I no longer hear the chirping and I feel such a mixture of sadness and joy.

All this I was thinking, standing outside with my dog as I gazed up at the trees and at my birdhouse. And then thinking that some of us are approaching the empty nest syndrome with our children preparing to go off to college next year, This Inquiring Mind Wants to Know what if we, humans, had to build nests?  Would that exercise somehow better prepare us? Would we be more willing to kick our kids out much sooner, assuming that they could in fact, fly on their own- or realize that after a certain amount of time we couldn’t protect tem from the outside world.

But thoughts were then interrupted by other more humorous thoughts of humans building nests:
Might we complain that we were never good at putting things together?
Might we want to hire some one else to build the nest?
Might we be tempted to over-decorate, insist on roofs, insulation and air-conditioning?
Might we want certain trees and places declared off limits to other species, and to qualify for environmental protections?
Might we then worry to death that our newborns would fall, break something, be eaten by a squirrel or carried home by a dog.
Might we set limits to keep our young in the nest?  And then when they did leave, would we expect them to come back and visit?

Back to birds. They are not encumbered by all these human feelings. Every season, they go about their task of nest building, in spite of the risks to their eggs and their newborn chicks. And in spite of all the dangers the outside world presents, once those little wings begin to flutter, it is over. They are gone.

We humans are not always good at knowing when our young can flutter and fly. We are not always willing to let them try.  We are not always accepting of letting them go which is why empty nests are so much harder for humans than for birds.

For those of us whose kids will be going off to college for the first time—letting them fly, saying good-bye, dealing with an empty nest are all part of the cycle of life. It might help to watch birds build their nests. It becomes clear that from twig gathering, to building, to warming, to laying, to feeding--birds have put their energy into what needs to be done in advance, and at the moment and they leave the rest to fate.
So hard for humans to do…I know…been there…

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 Wednesday March 23

This Inquiring Mind Wants to Know..?

Where Has Our Logic Gone?
On October 13, 2010 I wrote:
Seeing The 'Green' Light of Day?
I am totally in the dark about this!  Supposedly, we will soon be required to buy only energy efficient 'green' light bulbs. I own several already.  The old incandescent kind will be taken off the market.

Supposedly also, these energy efficient bulbs contain Mercury? If one breaks we have to leave the room for fifteen minutes. Can you imagine suddenly yanking forks, spoons or fingers full of food out of children’s mouths, pulling toddlers dripping wet out of a baths, or tugging the remote away from the sleepover party, yelling-- THIS IS NOT A DRILL!!!!!  EVERYONE OUT!!!

So, This Inquiring Mind Wants to Know:
 Why would a ‘green’ light bulb contain Mercury? And why would we want to buy it?
Because it lasts longer, even though we won’t? 
It's better for the environment even though that same environment will kill us all if we stay in it! 
It will give us a longer lasting light with which to read the warnings on the label! 
Because we simply will have no other choice?
 Hmm. How many people does it take to change a light bulb?
 One. The government???!!!!!! 
I’ll buy a torchlight! I can mount it on the wall and see the 'green' light of day without having to leave the room!
It is now Wednesday March 22, 2011
I hear on the news today that the transfer is upon us. Our old-fashioned light bulbs will dim forever. They say we will still be able to buy them but they will no longer be manufactured, so what does that mean?  Searching far and wide in thrift and antique stores?
This has got to be one of the more ridiculous mandates to date! Yes, it is a mandate. We will not have a choice.
Let’s see-
With families rushing to and fro, with little extra money or time, who have already stopped buying the toys from China with questionable material and parts,
we now have a bulb made in the U.S.A. that will cost $3.40 instead of 60 cents; we now have a bulb that may be cheaper in the long run, but much more expensive and dangerous in the short term; and we will now have a bulb that will take FOREVER to clean up heaven forbid it should break! (The TV reporter was also good enough to list all the EPA clean-up safety rules to follow if one of the new energy efficient bulbs is dropped.) I went onto EPA’s site.
EPA Safety Clean Up I thought I would die! (Well, I will if I don’t follow the precautions.  The clean-up directions take a day!!!!
So, let’s go back to my note on Facebook
Margo Judge Monday, March 21, 2011 at 10:37pm. 

Inflation Hits the Peanut Gang:

I knew inflation had hit the peanut gang when I drove past a lemonade stand-on my corner-little kids selling a cup-for A DOLLAR!!!! No cookie and not even a full cup! A DOLLAR! Yes, I bought a 3/4th cup. I was actually grateful there was no cookie. Have three boxes of Girl Scout cookies in my kitchen I have no idea what to do with-and they weren't cheap either!! Shook my head all the way down the block to my house. And I thought about the tooth fairy-Is a tooth now trading for a dollar a pop?
Forget a cookie. If the kids are smart they’ll add the OFL (old-fashioned light) Bulb along with the 3/4th cup of lemonade and charge $2.00!  There’ll be a line around the block!
Want to raise money for charities? Include the OFL Bulb! Thousands, they'll raise thousands!
And we cannot overlook what will be a very lucrative new black market or various sites on Google offering the coveted Old Bulb shipped from overseas?  Made in …? Shhhh….
Someone said this is the nanny state gone amok.
Another asked: How many people will it take to change one of the new CFL bulbs?
One to change it, and ten to help you into your HAZMAT suit!
This Inquiring Mind Wants to Know…
Why in the world would we want a mercury-containing bulb around bounding dogs, careless kids, clueless teens, shaky seniors, frazzled moms, rushing dads, and mutli-tasking nannies?
Where has our logic gone?
And why are the powers that be telling us, this is good for the environment and we must get with the program?
Off to hoard OFL  bulbs along with everyone else!
Henry Thoreau  never looked so good!


Wednesday March 16

This Inquiring Mind Wants to It the Ring or the Voice?

I am on a morning Acela train to New York.  It’s that time of the a.m. when the passenger air wafts thick with calls to and from clients, offices, business associates, and assistants. I, however, sit towards the back of the car, not with IPad or laptop, smart phone or blackberry, and not discussing my day's business agenda. Rather, I am reading my wonderfully small and light Bloomsbury pocketbook U.K edition of Harry Potter and the Deathly Gallows. Ye! I am on book seven!

Suddenly, the muggle world comes shouting towards me, from the front of the car when an extremely loud female voice-not in the least melodic answers her cell phone. She must be the only person, other than me, NOT engaged in business. No, this woman is talking to her contractor. So loud is she and so many details of her conversation do I become privy to, that I feel we are on a personal enough basis to want to shout back-what do you mean, you plan to paint the hallway dark purple???!! Who paints a hallway dark purple!!??(Except Hogwarts!) And it really doesn't matter what alarm system you install! No one will find their way down a purple hallway and the only thing someone will want to steal from you is your voice!

Finally, finally after 50 excruciating minutes, she says ‘it all sounds good!' and hangs up. The dark purple hallway is a go! There is an eerie silence in the passenger car. I can go back to Harry Potter envying the ability to Apparate!

So, this Inquiring mind wants to know-what is it that really annoys us? The ring of a cell phone or loud talking?  If people put their phone on buzzer or silent would that be ok? If they were required to take voice lessons to ensure a soft cell phone tone would talking endlessly on the phone then be ok? It seems to me that with or without a cell phone, it is the absolute cluelessness of a relentlessly loud voice that really gets us.

And in this particular case, after 50 minutes of listening to a quintessentially clueless woman --that she is on a train, with other passengers, that her voice is absolutely over the top in volume and tone, that she is way over public sharing, I conclude that since I will not be able to Apparate any time soon, I must get really good earphones.
Mr. Weasley would love Bose, no?

Comments to 


Wednesday June 1 /11

This Inquiring Mind Wants to Know...

Why Can't Our Minds and Bodies Catch Up to Technology?
What personifies this era?
The Tiny, in fact tiny everything, The Fast, in fact, fast everything, The Instant, in fact, instant everything.

Technology has obliterated The Bulk and The Plod and made it possible to know almost anything with the click of one finger.

So we have The tiny, The Fast and the Instant. Now, take a look at us. Are we any tinier? Not that I have seen in malls, or on buses, in restaurants or on planes. Are we any faster? No way! We still cannot jump out of bed any more promptly, be some place on time,  or throw something on for a party any more quickly? And are we any more instant? I wish! We still cannot instantly recall a name, or fact, or item on a shopping list!
And here's the worst part!  While technology keeps shrinking, we humans keep spreading! I own a Nano. This little one-inch square can hold a universe of books and songs and lectures, etc. Then I look at myself. I am significantly larger (albeit I do NOT look like a square). What great capacity do I have other than to hold way too much fat!!!!  I still personify the Bulk and the Plod!  


And so This Inquiring Mind Wants to Know why our minds and bodies cannot catch up to our technology? Why can't our minds be designed like  tiny Nanos and upload mental files with one touch at the left or right side of our brains? Why can't our bodies respond like 0-60 miles per hour, in under 6 seconds, engine? Why can't our systems operate like a microwave and melt calories in less than 3 minutes? Why, in essence, do we need to be so large or so slow? And more intriguing, why couldn’t we be more intellectually efficient with smaller, faster brains?

Speaking for myself, the technological revolution will not be complete until: One, my head can function like Google. Two, I can starve myself on veggies, exercise ad nauseam, and see my fat disappear by dinner time !!!!

Wednesday June 8/11

This Inquiring Mind Wants to Know...

Why we are not spending more time educating our young people to sharpen their instincts and STAY SAFE!!
I was going to write about the movie, Bridesmaids, (which I will next week) but I am too frustrated and angry about yet another college student gone missing: Lauren Spierer, an Indiana  University Sophmore was last seen walking barefoot from a friend's apartment at 4:30am on Friday, June 3rd. The Mama Bear in me comes out loud and furious every once in a while, and this is one of those times!  We have colleges full of wonderful, bright, engaging young people who know squat about keeping themselves safe!!!! This is ridiculous! Come on young people!!!!! Wake up and smell the danger!!!!

I grew up in New York City. It is a street city. I learned street smarts by walking, getting on and off subways and buses, having to mingle with people all day. And I developed  sharp instincts about what did not feel or look right. I also worked in the music business. I had to go and listen to bands until 3 in the morning. I would take a cab home and have him wait until I was in my apartment building. And I had a fellow late nighter call to make sure I got into my apartment.

Lots of college kids, however, grow up in small towns or suburbs. When kids go everywhere by car, there is no way to develop street smarts.  It is hard enough to learn how to deal with heavy pedestrian traffic! Put all that together with drinking and partying, and we end up with a clueless, naïve, seriously endangered species-no matter how intelligent they may otherwise be!!!!

This Inquiring Mind Really Wants to Know
why we are not spending more time educating our young people to sharpen their instincts and STAY SAFE!!  Think about it! When they are very young, we hold their hands while crossing the street. Why? Because the cars and traffic are dangerous.  We tell them, ad nauseam NOT to talk to strangers. Why? Because who knows what that stranger really wants. We pick them up from parties and drop them off at activities.  But somehow when they grow older, we disconnect, and fail to teach them how to keep themselves safe.  And while there are a myriad of ads, articles, interviews about the consequences of smoking, doing drugs, sexting, and unprotected sex, why isn’t there also a concerted campaign to educate our teens about personal physical safety? And if we can walk for Breast Cancer awareness, raise money for impoverished children around the world, be door to door activists for all sorts of environmental and social policies, why can we also figure out how to keep our college kids in the USA safe!!!!!

We are going to have to come together as a concerned community and look out for high school and college kids when they are out and about on their own.
We do not let our friends drive drunk. We should not be letting any young girl walk home alone at 4:30 in the morning!!!  No world is safe at 4:30am! I do not care where it is!!!!

Parents must to prepare their teenagers.
The community needs to watch college kids.
College peers have to start sharing responsibility for each other’s safety.


In middle school start conversations about staying safe and continue to have them all through high school.  I’ll bet a 6th grader has more of an idea of how to stay away from a car than a high school senior or college freshman!

BEFORE your daughter goes off to college: 
1) Insist she enroll in a self-defense course. A  5 ft, size 2 freshman better know how to get away from a much bigger and heavier predator!
2) Have a serious ‘What-if ‘conversation:
-What if you drink too much and you are in a bar, and the bar is closing and you need to get back to your apartment, what should you do?
-What if you are driving home late at night and an unmarked car with a siren tells you to pull over?  What should you do?
-What if you think someone is following you, what should you do?
3) Let your daughter know the DO NOTS of Bar Life!
   As in: DO NOT EVER leave your drink! If you have to, get a new one.
              NEVER let someone go to the bar and bring back a drink for you at the table.
              Only a waiter or waitress should serve you a drink.  It takes two seconds to slip a pill into your glass.
              DO NOT EVER go off with someone you just met! This is dangerous stupidity! If you are too drunk to be smart then a friend needs to intervene!

              FRIENDS should NOT let FRIENDS get into some strange guy’s car, or go to some strange guy’s apartment. If the guy is nice, there will be a second chance.

We parents need to get our kids' heads out of their high school diplomas and into streets smarts!!!  We can organize to have the local police department come and give high school seniors a crash course on personal physical safety.  This talk should be mandatory for all college freshmen.

It is now summer. Time to get ready for college.

Get involved in your teen’s safety!
Get your teen involved in her own safety!
Get the college involved in student safety.
Get the community at large involved in young people’s safety.

I do not want to roar like this! It doesn’t feel good, but I care too much to see another girl go missing when it can be prevented!
Let's create a watchful community instead of having to form a search party!

Go onto  Safety Bulletin Board for more tips on how to stay safe.



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