July 1, 2012
Roni Glasthal snapped this serious misspelling at a health food store on 5th Avenue and St. Marks in Park Slope, Brooklyn. What is the world coming to when people can't even spell chocolate correctly?
July 22, 2012
I wrote a version of the following article for the August 8, 2004, issue of Parade magazine, hot on the heels of the publication of my book, Swifter, Higher, Stronger: A Photographic History of the Summer Olympics. I've updated the article for the London Olympics, which start this coming Friday.
Watching the Olympics with your kids offers a great opportunity to share some lessons in geography, math, and character education. Here are some tips for making the Olympics a family experience:
If you don’t know where the home country of a competitor is, look it up. Athletes from 205 nations will compete in London. Considering how national boundaries have changed in the last 25 years, it’s likely that adults as well as kids could use a refresher course in geography. Keep an up-to-date world map handy and reference it to find the locations of the homes of prominent athletes. (For a variety of current maps, visit the Web site of The World Factbook, an annual published by the CIA, and click on “Regional Maps.”)
Help your kids get a handle on the speeds, heights, and distances that athletes achieve. Olympic platform divers plunge 10 meters into the water. Is that higher than a stoplight? (Yes.) The tree in your backyard? (Possibly.) Your house? (Yes, unless your house rises up three stories or more.) Help kids visualize Olympic times and distances by comparing them to measurements from everyday life. See how many strands of uncooked spaghetti you have to stretch end-to-end to equal the winning distance in the long jump. Time your kids to see if they can recite the entire “Pledge of Allegiance” before a runner crosses the finish line in the 100-meter sprint.
Talk about the athletes’ talent and commitment. Even if your kids aren’t natural athletes, there’s a good chance they have some special talents or passions that set them apart. Do they play musical instruments? Have beautiful singing voices? Like to write, cook, dance, or draw? Help your kids explore their own special gifts after they learn about the dedication and commitment of Olympic athletes. Are your kids willing to pursue their passions with the same determination as the Olympians? Ask them why or why not.
Discuss the losers as well as the winners. Athletes know better than anybody that they can’t win every time. As you watch the Olympics, ask your kids how they think the athletes who didn’t win the gold medal feel. Is it better to lose the gold by a tiny margin or a large one? Is representing one’s country in the Olympic Games honor enough for an athlete, or should the Olympian be disappointed unless he or she takes home a medal?
Follow the Olympics Online. This year in the United States, NBC will show EVERY Olympic event on either their broadcast, cable, or online outlets. You and your kids can check out NBC’s Olympics Web site for the online broadcasts, as well as for schedules, results, blogs, athletes’ Twitter feeds, polls, and lots more. You can even find out which Olympians have connections to your state or town.
Let the games begin!
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Misspelling of the Month
I don't often turn to Chinese restaurant menus for misspellings because they can be easy targets. But this one invented a new word that has a bit of charm. Quite accidentally, it's the second "steak"-related Misspelling of the Month in a row. So thanks to Empire Szechuan Village on Seventh Avenue, South, in New York City for this meaty mistake. (Of course, "waterchestnut" should be plural and two words as well.)
Click on the photo to see a larger image.