Thursday, March 29, 2007

life is a chronic condition

Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions: Self-Management of Heart Disease, Arthritis, Diabetes, Asthma, Bronchitis, Emphysema and others (Third Edition) by Kate Lorig, RN, DrPH, Halsted Holman, MD, David Sobel, MD, Diana Laurent, MPH, Virgina Gonzales, MPH, and Marian Minor, RPT, PhD (so glad i’m not handwriting that~writer’s cramp~big time!) is the text we use for a class i took back in February in Chronic Disease Self-Management. It’s a four-day course in which we take the class and learn to lead/facilitate the class (which instead of being four days will be spread our over six weeks in two and ½ hour sessions. In order to be a course facilitator you must suffer from a chronic condition yourself (so the class members can relate to you).
We use a standardized program created at the Stanford School of Medicine. I took the course through our Aging Services Department. In order to meet the completion and certification requirements you have to facilitate a class and i was hoping to do one at my library (i was also hoping to consider all class time as work time) but everything became a bit problematic once i started attending. First there was the whole volunteer/employee thing which i won't go into~basically having to do with the fact that you need to be volunteering but we happen to work for the same government body~just different agencies; and then some discussions with my personnel director led to the compromise that i could do the initial training ½ vacation time and ½ paid time as long as i committed to do at least one class at my library which was fine, since it was part of my plan anyway; but then i felt somehow obligated to sign up for one of the already scheduled classes through aging services~so i signed up for the only one i had time availability for (most of the other people in this training were retired volunteers or were employed at the senior centers they were going to teach at). So far so good.

At the end of March i got a call from the Outreach Coordinator for Aging Services and she can't find a co-facilitator for an upcoming class (did i mention it takes two to facilitate each class?) can i possibly do it? I have to be at work before the class is scheduled to be over. That will probably be okay as the classes don't go the full time but she'll call Ms. Co-Facilitator to be sure. Unfortunately she called me back to say that Ms. Co said that would be fine. So now i'm committed to three classes in my copious free time (actually it's not so much the time itself as the time that i can actually manage to leave my dark quiet house and drive a car and talk to people over the raging pain in my head~thus my chronic condition)

During the first three sessions i rather uncharacteristically, submissively sat back and let Ms. Co take over the class, feeling like if she wanted to do all the work she could (also since i had a full eight hour day ahead of me i really couldn't afford to let myself feel my usual rampageyness towards being ordered around). The problem (that i didn't know about) was that the independent seniors at our senior center did not take too kindly to her grade-school-teacherly manner, and over-enforcement of the rules (although i could have told them she strayed quite a few times and didn't understand the standardized program as well as she should have). When the cute and perky outreach coordinator called me to ask if she could drop the snacks for the next class off at my house i thought nothing of it as she happened to life just down the street from me. But when she showed up she had all sorts of leading questions about how the class was going and how Ms. Co was doing. My diplomatic answer was that she was okay, that she had a tendency to take over and run on, but overall it was okay. If i had known that she was asking because there had been class member complaints... So CuteandPerky says maybe she should stop by just to observe and i say sure...

Class morning i show up my usual fifteen minutes before class is scheduled to start (which is usually fifteen minutes later than Ms. Co shows up) and there is no one there, which is odd. I'm thinking "this is odd, this is the right day, right???" I start to set up, still no one. I walk to the Director's office and ask if she's seen Ms. Co. "Who's Ms. Co?"

"She's doing the Chronic Conditions Class..."

"I know no one likes her.

that is not so good. "You had a couple more dropouts last week," she continues.

I wander back to the lounge/classroom, my mouth doing it's anxious little twisty thing. Two class members approach me books in hand, wanting to return them. "It's not you, YoSafBridg," one of them says. Eventually CandP shows up, stops by the Director's office to say she's here to observe today's class, i step in and tell her that there probably isn't a class, explaining the situation. Just as the three of us are discussing things i see Ms. Co walking in the door.

"Oh, i'm not good with confrontation..." says CandP (somehow that doesn't surprise me...

We go into the room and Ms. Co, CandP, and i have a little chat about the class (which was not the most comfortable discussion i've ever been a party to, but it had to be done, and then it was done.) Though we did discuss a few of the issues people had (and Ms. Co demanded to know who those people were, i demurred) i tried my most diplomatic resources and she left, i believe, completely unaware that she had a problem, her fondest desire of teaching still in tact (that wasn't necessarily our intention, but people will only hear what they will hear). So i left thinking "at least i have That morning free for a little while."

That, of course, was not to be. CandP called the next week saying she had talked to the director and that the class members would like to continue the class if CandP and I were teaching (so they did like me "they really liked me!!!"). So this morning, its back to class i went (a much more enjoyable experience, i might add~tho it did involve more work, being an active facilitator and all ...)

And after that extremely long, saga-like introduction and peek into my ever-so exciting life, i'll tell you of the book itself: it is basically what the title says it is, a manual focusing on self-management of chronic conditions to lead a healthy, fulfilling life (and wouldn't i love to throw wealthy in there~not only for its rhyming possibilities but also because i'm feeling the pinch at the moment.)

The book covers every aspect of disease/life self-management starting with understanding your symptoms; using your mind to manage symptoms; exercising for fun, fitness, strength, and endurance (including tips for specific illnesses); communication skills; sex and intimacy; making your wishes known (advance directives, DNRs, living wills, etc); healthy eating; managing medications; and making treatment decisions; as well as chapters dealing with specific conditions; it ends with planning for the future. The book and the class are both very useful tools for those dealing with chronic conditions or caring for those who are.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

my long lost Mama Rose

When i was a little girl, about seven or so, i had this little fantasy that Bernadette Peters was my birth mother (it could happen). I don't remember what movies i saw her in but i do remember watching her on the Carol Burnett Show (which i loved, by the by) in various sketches (i vaguely remember an Exorcist one) and i just thought she was so adorable with that little baby voice, her tinyness, and most of all THOSE CURLS (somehow i remember them as being blonde at that time~but maybe that's just because My Curls were blonde at the time) she just had to be my biomom. I would watch her, and have my little fantasy (and they were fantasies~i wasn't Entirely delusional at seven); i would tell my mom "Bernadette Peters could be my birth mother."
"I doubt it very much." she would unhelpfully reply.
"But it's possible..." i would plead, doing my seven-year-old calculations.
"Very unlikely." Mom was quite uncooperative. But i would cajole and beg her to go along with the little story until she would finally admit to the slight possibility just to shut me up.
So when a friend asked if i knew anyone who liked Bernadette Peters because he just happened to have an extra ticket to her concert you know i had to jump on that chance.
"Oh, me, me, me," i practically gushed, "I Love Bernadette Peters!" (of course i would have to, and i relayed to him the tales of my childhood (or at least the ones of The Carol Burnett Show and my mother.)
So the other night i joined "the clan of the curly redhead" (as if i wasn't already a member) and saw Ms. Wonderful in concert (from the fifth row, no less). And she was. Wonderful. Stupendous. Awe inspiring. And, while i was watching this 59-year-old, 5'3" (my height exactly) woman, with the hourglass figure (my genetic blessing~though Ms. Bernadette obviously puts much more effort into keeping hers fit than i do), and the tumbling red ringlets, sashay about the stage with
such finesse, there was the voice of a seven-year-old girl whispering to me "Don't you think it's possible, even in the slightest... maybe... possibly?"
i'd like to think so...

Friday, March 23, 2007

two thoughts for the day

  1. My horoscope from Free Will Astrology:

It has been too long since you visited the Middle of Nowhere. You’ve been a fixture in the heart of a well-defined Somewhere for quite some time. But now, Taurus, you need the enriching confusion of the cosmic, huh?! It’s prime time for you to wander out into the fertile chaos of the what the hell!? zone. Have fun! Don’t forget to writhe! Now please repeat and repeat and repeat after me, slowly building from a smirking giggle to a cackling belly-laugh: Where am I and how did I get here?!

(now i will have to ponder this one; i have definitely visited That Zone quite a few times, but has it been that long~i’m not so sure…)

  1. i’m not sure whether this is tragically ironic, some (very) weird kind of poetic justice (in a way i'm obviously unaware of), or just sad; but it is definitely noteworthy:

After campaigning for three years to have authorities remove a massive tree stump from Ontario’s Lake St. Clair, insisting that it posed a hazard to snowmobilers, Robert Case, 47, died when his snowmobile struck the stump.

what i should have said

don't you love it when the perfect retort comes to you just a bit too late?

Yesterday, just before my dinner break i had a woman standing in the middle of my library shouting into her cell phone, in an ever increasing volume, i watched and listened to her for a tad, assessing the situation (which was not really an emotional crisis~just apparently the way she "communicates" with people") hoping that maybe she would lower her voice; end her phone call; or perhaps just disappear, when other patrons started glaring at her then at me wondering why i wasn't doing something about her i stepped over to her and asked her if she could Please take her phone conversation outside (the door was actually just a few feet away.)

She yelled, "No! I'm not taking my phone outside, bitch..." (and a few other expletives i didn't catch as i was walking away because the no had been completely unexpected.)
She stalked around for a while continuing her conversation as i looked at the clock, thinking it was time for me to leave and i really just should, and i was a little shocked that this would happen to me in my beloved new library as no one had ever said no to me when i asked them to quiet down their cell phone conversation even in my VERY SCARY INNER-CITY-LIKE old library that none of our librarians ever want to go to (of course the name calling and swearing was nothing new and i have had many people refuse to leave after they've been kicked out at which point the police must be called~at least a weekly event at my OLD library.)

After she hung up and as she was stomping by my desk she spoke at me, "You must be new, he's on the phone why don't you make him go outside!" (she was referring to the man using our courtesy phone, he was speaking in a reasonable voice, i might add). Now there were many responses welling up in my mind, as well as, i'm sure, a most interesting look on my face, but luckily for both of us, i'm sure, the woman was off somewhere else and my manager was approaching to tell me she was leaving for the day.

"What's up?" she asked, noting the horrified luck on my face (and possibly my closed fist pounding on the desk). I relayed my little tale. She said, "Perhaps we need to start being a little more consistent about our cell phone policy, i had a woman stroll through her the other night loudly and obliviously chatting as well."

"I know, i was there. Oh well, have a good night." i replied, then promptly fled (after stopping at the customer service desk to see if there was any particular reason this woman should be receiving special treatment~after all i AM new~although that particular comment made me seethe)

Now, let me just insert here, that ALL of the libraries in our system (and by all i am, of course including my current library just to leave no questions) have signs on the door with a picture of a cell phone and that lovely little red circle/slash thingie asking people to turn off there cell phone or place it in silent mode. Some of our libraries enforce this very strictly, most of the time, if people talk in a reasonable tone i let them, but if they get loud or their ring tone does i gently remind them (as i do with ANY other disruptive talk, noise, or behaviour in the library). If they get snarky with me i use the signs as a fallback.

Apparently this woman couldn't see her behavior was unreasonable so she probably wouldn't understand the reasonable assessment that it wasn't actually her cell phone USE i was objecting to but HOW she was using it. Nor the reasonable argument that the man she wanted me to tell to go outside was talking at a reasonable argument (not to mention the fact that, as our phone was actually CONNECTED through WIRES to parts of the library it was physically impossible for him to step outside...)

What would have come out of my mouth if she had actually been speaking to me?

Probably something unfortunate like: "Oh i'm sorry, i didn't realize that you had Special Needs... or Were Crazy...or Were Stupid" which would have lead to a confrontation between Problem Woman and Rampaging Librarian and that would not be good.

But today i was thinking what i should have said was: "Why, yes i am new to this library. My name is (YoSafBridg), and i was transferred in because they were having some Issues here and they knew i was Just the one to handle it." (in an ever-so-sweet tone)

or maybe: Why, yes i am new to this library. My name is (YoSafBridg), and i was transferred in because i the system is highly confident in my years of experience in handling difficult situations." (which is actually closer to the truth since i was transferred from my old library (which was a difficult situation in and of itself) because they were transferring most of the librarians who had been at their libraries for 5-7 years (and i had been there nine)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

"all that is vile for the sake of a smile"

~Robert Mankoff in the foreword to The Rejection Collection
I must admit to a rather twisted sense of humour. I think you need to have that twist (or twinge or maybe it's an illness~i can't really tell) to enjoy The Rejection Collection: Cartoons You Never Saw, and Never Will See in The New Yorker edited by Matthew Diffee (though i also must admit there were a few of these i just didn't get~if that's a good thing or a bad thing i'm still trying to figure out)

I also often enjoy the cartoons in The New Yorker (as well as the rest of the magazine~yes i'm one of those~i even subscribe~people)~tho sometimes some of those fly a tad high for me as well. These panels aren't just any old rejects they are rejects from regular submitters if that helps at all~but again it takes a certain twist of mind...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Blessed Ostara

Today is the Vernal Equinox which is, of course, of special significance to we of the pagan persuasion who celebrate it as the festival day of Ostara or Alban Eilir. So i thought i'd post a little post, but that's as far as my thinking got~funny or not so funny how your brain just fizzles out on you...)

March is of course sacred to Mars, the Green Goddess, the Lord of the Greenwood, Ostara, and Eostre (hm what does that sound/ look like?) The Vernal Equinox is one of the four Lesser Sabbats celebrated by Wiccans and it is a movable day (apparently this year it is rather controversial as it is today on this side of the pond and tomorrow on the other.) According to The Pagan Book of Days today is:

"...also sacred to the Norse goddess Iduna, bearer of the magic apples of life who personifies the light half of the year. She appears on this day as a sparrow, bringing joy to humans."

and who couldn't use a little more joy in their lives? I do love spring!

Though i may be a winter i love the mild months of spring and autumn...they bring a song to my (maybe not so) sarcastic heart

Sunday, March 18, 2007

if all is not lost, where is it?

I’m not sure i have the answer to THAT question; but, if you fear you “suffer” from disorganization then you really should read A Perfect Mess: the hidden benefits of disorder (how crammed closets, cluttered offices, and on-the-fly planning make the world a better place) by Eric Abrahamson and David H. Freedman (not that i would ever tell you what to do, but it is absolutely enjoyable as well as quite informative and sensical~that is, as opposed to non-sensical).

Many of the reviews of this book have objected to its annectoctal nature but i found that part of it to be rather refreshing, especially as i read it, as i do many of my non-fiction reads, in bits and pieces sandwiched between parts of other books. Abrahamson and Freedman laid out their theories in, what i believed to be, a surprisingly organized way (or perhaps not so surprising~because what we are talking about here is not so much an absolute mess as hidden or unconventional methods of organization). Speaking as someone whose mind does not quite work in the usual way i feel i can relate. I learned many new and interesting things from this book and if i ever recover, even in the slightest from my horrible debt i might even acquire my own copy (tho its more likely my biblioaddiction might see to that for me).

Read this book and you might come away from the experience knowing all sorts of new anecdotal stories yourself, as well as the meaning of terms like: clutter; mixture; time sprawl; inconsistency; blur; noise; distraction; bounce; convolution; inclusion; distortion; width; depth; and intensity as they relate to mess and organization. You also might find reasons to give to your relatives and friends as to why you don't need a professional organizer (& how it might even be injurious to your health & well-being or your roof could come crashing in~literally). Though there are pathological degrees of messiness, i.e. the Collyer Brothers or crazy old cat ladies~oh please gods, don't let this ever happen to me~balance in everything (the perfectionist in me needs reminding of this~as does the professional organizer~i am a librarian after all...and dare i admit it...i even have a bit of the cataloger in me...)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

somehow i was thinking it was tomorrow....

often one to love the big party holidays i usually am right on top of St. Patrick's Day (or Trefuilnid Treochair, the national day of Ireland. The feast for "the triple bearer of the triple key," the trident-bearing Celtic divinity assimilated to St. Patrick, whose sacred plant is the shamrock.~The Pagan Book of Days: a guide to the festivals, traditions, and sacred days of the year), but here it is already, totally snuck up on me, (for anyone who's interested it's also the second day of the festival of the Greek god Dionysus, equivalent to the Roman Bachus and Egyptian Day; as well as the end of the Celtic tree month of Nuin (ibid)~on this day in 1893, Eileen J. Garrett {a gifted medium, psychic, and founder of the Parapsychology Foundation} was born in Ireland. At a young age she began experiencing visions of the dead. She was granted United States citizenship in 1947 and she founded her own publishing house {Creative Age Press} and magazine {Tomorrow, a journal of paranormal phenomena}. She established the Parapsychology Foundation in 1951, and wrote numerous books under the pen name of Jean Lyttle. She died in France on September 15, 1970.~The Wicca Book of Days: Legend and Lore for Every Day of the Year)
In honor of the day i offer the following:

You're 65% Irish

You're very Irish, and most likely from Ireland.
(And if you're not, you should be!)
actually, according to the (tiny) slip of paper i got with the (minimal) bit of info on my birth parents i do have a bit o' the Irish blood in me, so who knows?

Your Irish Name Is...

Ciara Dillon

You Are A Poplar Tree

People tend to look up to you, and it's a bit lonely at the top.
Inside, you are not always self confident, but you show great courage.
Mature and organized, you are reliable in any situation.
You tend to have an artistic or philosophical outlook on life.
You are very choosy in love and take partnership seriously.

You Are Apple Green

You are almost super-humanly upbeat. You have a very positive energy that surrounds you.
And while you are happy go lucky, you're also charmingly assertive.
You get what you want, even if you have to persuade those against you to see things your way.
Reflective and thoughtful, you know yourself well - and you know that you want out of life.

um, no. super-humanly upbeat??? Not. Assertive and Persuasive? Perhaps. But that apple green is looking a bit like something else to me, and though green IS one of my favorite colours (i always waffle between that and blue) i lean a little towards the darker side...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

We came, We Saw, We trampled...

The good folks of Oklahoma are considering legislation to make English the state's official language and they are running into some opposition. Now those of us who have gone through this struggle before may think that we have straddled both sides of the fence on this issue already~or at least i have~i am constantly arguing two sides with myself; but here's something i hadn't considered before and i really should have:

Oklahoma Indians balk at English-Only bill

By TIM TALLEY, Associated Press Writer Wed Mar 14, 2:21 AM ET
OKLAHOMA CITY - Legislation to make English the state's official language has run into opposition from American Indians, who say their native tongues are dying fast enough without any help from lawmakers.
As Oklahoma observes its centennial year, the English-only issue points up divisions that persist more than a century after Indians were forcibly marched to the region and then endured a series of land grabs.
Many of Oklahoma's 37 federally recognized tribes are fighting to save their languages and cultures from extinction years after the end of organized efforts to stamp them out.
Critics of the English-only Legislation point out that Oklahoma's very name is formed from two Choctaw Indian words — "okla" and "homma" — that mean "red man."
"If you go to English only, what are we going to call the state of Oklahoma?" said Terry Ragan, director of the Choctaw Nation's language program. "Even town names in the state will have to be named differently."
Supporters of the legislation say it could end bilingual state government documents, such as driver's license tests, and force immigrants to learn English and assimilate into American society.
English-only legislation has been adopted in 28 states and measures are pending in 12 states, said Rob Toonkel, director of communications for U.S. English, Inc. of Washington, D.C., an interest-group that supports making English the nation's official language. A similar measure has been filed in Congress.
The national English-only movement does not want to deprive American Indians of their native languages but is aimed at standardizing government documents into a single language as a symbol of unity for immigrant populations, Toonkel said.
"It's very much an assimilation issue," he said. "We should make sure they become part of the country."
But assimilation is a charged word for many American Indians, whose ancestors were forced from their traditional lands and sent on the Trail of Tears in the 19th century.
English-only restrictions were imposed in Indian Territory to expunge tribal languages and culture, said Kirke Kickingbird, an Oklahoma City attorney and member of the Kiowa tribe.
"That whole era was really about assimilation," he said.
Chad Smith, chief of the 250,000-member Cherokee Nation, the largest American Indian tribe in the United States, said the state's image is harmed when cultural differences are not embraced.
"There's a message sent to those outside of Oklahoma that we're intolerant, we're colloquial and we want to isolate ourselves from the rest of the world," Smith said.
"To our tribes it says that if there's an official language, your language is secondary and all other languages are secondary," said Smith, who has also criticized athletic teams using Indian mascots and names.

Supporters point out that the legislation doesn't interfere with the teaching or learning of American Indian languages.
But critics said a government policy could impede efforts to revive tribal languages.
The Intertribal Wordpath Society, a nonprofit group based in Norman, estimates that only about 9,000 people are fluent in the Cherokee language and 4,000 in the Choctaw language.
Fewer than a dozen people are fluent in other American Indian languages, including those of the Osage, Pawnee and Chiricahua Apache tribes, according to the group.
"We have absolutely nothing against English. It's great if people speak English," said Alice Anderton, a former linguist at the University of Oklahoma and executive director of the Intertribal Wordpath Society. "But it's great if people speak English plus some other language of heritage."

Very interesting indeed. Now i have even more to argue with myself about.

late to the party and i'm still dazed and confused...

Have you heard the one about the librarian who was charged with sexual harassment for recommending a book? (apparently everyone but me has, because he's already been found "not guilty" of those charges but now HE's suing for extreme emotional distress). This story was posted to one of my lists:
By Jami Kinton News Journal (Mansfield, Ohio)

MANSFIELD -- A librarian at The Ohio State University-Mansfield accused of sexual harassment is suing at least four faculty members for defamation and intentional distress.
Scott Savage's suit lists Norman Jones, James Buckley, Hannibal Hamlin, Gary Kennedy and others yet to be identified as defendants.
The dispute stems from Savage's experiences, in February 2006, on the First Year Reading Experience Committee that chooses books for freshmen to read as part of their immersion into college life.
Savage initially suggested four titles from a conservative perspective, including David Kupelian's "The Marketing of Evil."
The next day, Jones e-mailed the committee to say Kupelian's book is "anti-gay and "homophobic tripe," the suit alleges.
Savage says that when he offered other reviews of the book, Jones sent private e-mails to library director Beth Burns, the campus dean and the committee that attacked Savage's professionalism and academic opinions.
Hamlin responded with an e-mail warning Savage the book would violate the campus's discrimination policy. Soon after, Buckley, who was not on the committee, sent an e-mail to all OSU-Mansfield faculty and staff members criticizing the book suggestion and saying he felt threatened and harassed by Savage.
According to the suit, Savage did not respond to these or future comments because "the discussion had degenerated from the professional task of producing a freshman reading list to an effort by faculty members to enforce their own liberal orthodoxy at OSU-M and to punish and humiliate Savage for his viewpoint."
At a March 13, 2006, assembly, Hamlin accused Savage of defending "hate literature" and told faculty the overriding issue raised by Savage was sexual harassment, the suit says.
The faculty unanimously approved a motion to forward a sexual harassment allegation to a university investigator. Three days later, Kennedy filed the complaint on behalf of Buckley and Jones with OSU-Mansfield's Human Resources Officer.
A month later, Savage said he received a letter from the OSU-M Human Resources investigator that stated he was not guilty of discrimination and harassment and charges never should have been filed.
Because of what he called "extreme emotional distress," Savage took a leave of absence from the campus July 5 and has not returned.
Defendants will have 30 days to respond or make a legal motion in response to the March 6 suit.
Savage is asking for $25,000 in compensatory damages, a minimum of $25,000 in punitive damages from each defendant, attorney fees and any other relief to which he may be entitled.
"I have represented people a number of times who have been nose-to-nose with the homosexual rights crowd," said Tom Condit, Savage's attorney. "The people
who are homosexual activists are vicious. They are not honest and will take no prisoners.
"They want people to agree that homosexuality is a good thing or they will destroy you."
Condit said accusations and name-calling damage reputations, no matter the eventual outcome.
"No matter how long it takes, if this is settled immediately or if it takes 10 years, we are in this for the long run," Condit said.
Rodger Smith, assistant director of university relations at OSU-Mansfield, said Savage is due back on campus on July 2.

Now, from this, i got the impression that Savage had suggested The Marketing of Evil as one of several books to be read as part of a "Year of Reading" program and was then "attacked" by a group with an agenda, which would be bad and uncalled for to say the least, and also somewhat smacking of censorship, but then, as i was reading some of the comments, i thought to myself, there seems to be something more here, so i did a little further research, and i came up with this article:

Savage Injustice
By David French April 24, 2006
Like many other universities, Ohio State University’s branch campus in Mansfield, Ohio has a “First Year Reading Experience” program, through which the school chooses a book for all incoming freshmen to read. The book is chosen by a committee that includes both faculty and library staff.
One of the members of this was Scott Savage, the head reference librarian at OSU Mansfield. Scott is a “Plain Christian,” a conservative Quaker who eschews most forms of modern technology, rides a horse and buggy, and endeavors to live a simple and quiet life. As a Quaker, Scott believes in nonviolence, and that evil and injustice should not be fought “with the weapons of this world.” His opponents on the committee made the mistake of assuming that because of this pacifism, Savage would be easily overwhelmed on the issue before them and that once his friendly persuasion had failed he would retreat into silence and acquiescence.
The other members of the committee initially recommended a variety of leftist works, a mixture of scholarly books and casual reads (such as titles by Jimmy Carter and Maria Shriver) for incoming freshmen. Scott objected to the one-sided nature of the list and suggested a less overtly political book, Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. After this suggestion was rebuffed, he suggested four more books, all reflecting mainstream conservative opinions: David Horowitz’s The Professors, It Takes a Family by Rick Santorum, Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis by Baat Ye’or, and
The Marketing of Evil by David Kupelian.
The reaction to these suggestions was swift – and outrageous. The Marketing of Evil particularly angered some of the professors because it advances a traditional Judeo-Christian view of sexual morality. One professor, J.F. Buckley, responded to Scott’s suggestion with a public allegation (through an e-mail to the OSU Mansfield faculty and staff) of harassment:

As a gay man I have long ago realized that the world is full of homophobic, hate-mongers who, of course, say that they are not. So, I am not shocked, only deeply saddened—and THREATENED—that such mindless folks are on this great campus. I am ending now, with the hope that I have seriously challenged you Scott, and anyone who “thinks” as you purport to do. You have made me fearful and uneasy being a gay man on this campus. I am, in fact, notifying the OSU-M campus, and Ohio State University in general, that I no longer feel safe doing my job. I am being harassed.

In other words, Scott Savage’s very existence on campus—the way he thought and viewed the world-- made Professor Buckley fearful at work. Given the absurdity of that allegation, one might think that others on the committee would have introduced a note of sanity to the discussion. But this was not the case. In fact, the other professors immediately jumped to the support of Professor Buckley, and fellow faculty member Dr. Norman Jones recommended that the matter be brought before the school’s faculty association.
On March 13, 2006, after much discussion, the faculty association of OSU Mansfield voted without dissent to forward the issue of Scott Savage’s incorrect thinking to a “sexual harassment investigator of the university.” Whether out of conviction or cowardice, not one faculty member stood up to defend obviously protected speech. Not one faculty member stood up to defend academic freedom. Not one faculty member voted to stop a slanderous and false allegation. Not one faculty member voted against a motion to punish a librarian for suggesting a book.
At the University of Colorado, 199 professors signed a public petition to ask the Board of Regents to stop all investigations of Ward Churchill, including a plagiarism investigation that was unrelated to Churchill’s offensive (though certainly constitutionally protected) speech. To those professors, free speech was so important that it justified protecting a controversial professor even from plagiarism allegations. At Ohio State Mansfield, though, the faculty slandered a librarian for exercising the same academic freedom rights as other members of his committee.
So, in the name of academic freedom, leftists like Colorado’s Churchill must be protected – even from actual legal violations (like plagiarism) – when they celebrate the September 11 death of American fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters. Yet in the name of that same academic freedom, these same leftists can punish conservatives merely for suggesting books that offer a traditional Judeo-Christian perspective on sexual morality.
This episode in the heartland of red state America shows yet again how deeply the culture of Leftism has penetrated the daily workings of our universities.
David French is the Director of the Alliance Defense Fund’s Center for Academic Freedom

It seems we've stepped upon the Christian sensibilities of this great nation of ours (it really makes me glad that i'm not on THAT committee~although sometimes i feel like i have "opponents" on the committees i AM on i don't think they are officially called that...) I'm still thinking there is more than meets the eye to this story, but here's what i'm thinking: these are book suggestions for ONE book that the freshman are supposed to read during their first year (oh those poor, poor students how will they ever suffer through?) that puts quite a different spin on things than if you are suggesting a LIST of titles (it is quite interesting that our system just went through its own "One Book" fiasco). It seems that after Freakonomics was rejected (quite unfortunately in my opinion, as that would have made a good, quick, discussable and hopefully, less controversial read~perhaps everyone is regretting that decision now) maybe Mr. Savage felt like pushing his own agenda just a tad? The problem with a single book program is that you are promoting it as a book that Every (in this case) Freshman should read. You really don't want to promote (or offend) the views of either the majority or the minority of a certain population base (and just to insert a quick question here~why are conservative opinions called mainstream conservative while liberal views are always just leftist? and while we're at, it why are all of Savage's titles named and the other titles are just a variety of leftist works?) Some people just don't get it and sometimes that person is me, but it seems like things got a bit out of control here. Once you get emotionally involved it's a bit too difficult to see things rationally, like i said i feel like i'm still missing something but i'm not sure what it is (if i was then i wouldn't be missing it, right?)

more words to offend

so i haven't yet mentioned the whole controversy raging over That Book and That Word (mostly because a) i'm not a youth services librarian; or b) an offended parent/tax-payer/parent/ constituent/ whatever; c) i think the whole thing is rather silly; and d) the more i read the more i want to roll my eyes and say "Wake me when it's over" or, conversely "Isn't it over yet?"
But i think the whole brouhaha may be dying down (i hope, i pray) but if you haven't read the book perhaps you should (it might even go on my pile) and in the meantime i offer these two bits of humor:
INAPPROPRIATE by Paul Rudnick March 12, 2007
A children’s book that included the word “scrotum” was recently the subject of great controversy in school libraries nationwide. A Google search has discovered several more questionable titles and excerpts from other works intended for readers twelve and under.
“The Pretty Little Bunny”
Melissa, the pretty little bunny, woke up one morning in May and said, “I think I’ll hop-hop-hop over to the carrot patch. I’m so pretty that all of the carrots will jump right out of the ground to see me.”
“You are very pretty,” said Melissa’s Bunny Mommy. “But your sister is pretty, too, and she doesn’t spend all of her time looking at herself in the mirror.”
“But is she as pretty as me?” asked Melissa. “Just look at my vagina.”
“The Clattery Caboose”
Carl the Caboose had worked for the railroad for a long time. He loved it when little children ran alongside the tracks and waved to him. But Carl was getting older. His bright-red paint was peeling, his wheels were getting squeaky, and don’t even ask about his prostate.
“Where’s Waldo’s Hand?”
“The Lonely Little Moonbeam”
The lonely little moonbeam would sleep all day, and then wake up and shine all night long, to guide people on their way. But he was lonely, because people never looked up and smiled at him. They were too busy performing fellatio.
“Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, and I Need It Bad”
“Cornelius Thimbletuck and the Wizard of Trewe”

Every night, Cornelius would pray that his parents would rescue him from the Smudgebury Orphanatorium, and every morning he’d awaken on his hard, wooden cot. And so before eating his meagre ration of watery gruel he would masturbate until his palm bled.
“Oh, the People You’ll Do”
“The Lion Princess”
Tarandiria, the beautiful lion princess, was strolling through the tall grass one day with her mother, Queen Malafala.
Tarandiria said, “Mother lioness, whenever I see that handsome leopard over there I get a strange, tingling feeling.”
“Where do you get this feeling, my child?” asked the Queen.
Tarandiria told her, “In my hyena.”
“Betsy Barstow, Colonial Girl”
One fine morning, as Betsy went to the village well in the Olde Massachusetts Baye colony, she ran into her best friend, feisty Katey Karmody.
“Oh, Katey,” said Betsy, “I have such news! My father and my brothers are joining up with the militia to fight the British, so that we may all be free!”
“Oh, Betsy, that is news!” cried Katey. “My nipples are like muskets!”
“The Big Floppy Penis”
“The Little Mermaid at Sea”

As Ariel cavorted through the waves and foam, she thought to herself, How I love the sea and all its friendly creatures. How I love capering and leaping from cove to lagoon. How I love to be at one with the grand undersea kingdom, but I think I have crabs.
“A Modern Child’s Garden of Verses”
Smart Susie O’Malley just loved her computer,
She didn’t need pencils or books or a tutor.
Chad had a laptop, a Mac, and a modem,
He Web-cammed smart Susie a shot of his scrodem

and then, of course, there is always:

Legion of Decency
Index Liberis Prohibitorum - Index of Forbidden Books for Children
The Boy Who Died From Eating All His Vegetables
Curious George and the High-Voltage Fence
Daddy Drinks Because You Cry
Dad's New Wife Robert
Eggs, Toilet Paper, and Your School
Fun Four-letter Words to Know and Share
The Kids' Guide to Hitchhiking
The Little Sissy Who Snitched
The Magic World Inside the Abandoned Refrigerator
The Man in the Moon Is Actually Satan
Places Where Mommy and Daddy Hide Neat Things
Pop! Goes The Hamster...And Other Great Microwave Games
The Pop-Up Book of Human Anatomy
Some Kittens Can Fly
Strangers Have the Best Candy
Things Rich Kids Have, But You Never Will
Whining, Kicking, and Crying to Get Your Way
Why Can't Mr. Fork and Ms. Electrical Outlet Be Friends?
You Were an Accident
Your Nightmares Are Real
You're Different, and That's Bad

(source: Steven Olderr, Webmaster, Anglican Library Society)

mistakes were made...

According to Maria Aspan of The New York Times, Time Warner is not falling all over itself to defend its decision to withhold the March 14 Swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated (and wouldn't you feel absolutely crushed to be deprived of such an incredible Steven Tyler shot as the one shown at left???) from its institutional customers and is instead blaming the debacle on an unnamed group of flunkies.

. . . Despite the differing responses many libraries initially received from Sports Illustrated representatives, Rick McCabe, a magazine spokesman, said on Friday that the magazine would provide copies of the missing issue to all affected subscribers who requested them.
According to Mr. McCabe, the decision to withhold the swimsuit issue was made independently of the magazine’s senior management, by a group that was also involved in removing alcohol or tobacco-related advertising from issues for classrooms and other subscribers who requested such alternate copies. He declined to further identify the group, but said that recent complaints about the swimsuit issue’s content from teachers and parents were also a factor.
Librarians and their patrons won’t have to worry about missing the latest in swimsuit fashions next year. The decision to withhold the issue was “a mistake that shouldn’t have been made,” Mr. McCabe said. “Certainly it’s not something we’re going to do again.”
don't we feel special to recieve his apology and the gift of the extra subscription though?

Saturday, March 10, 2007

what doesn't kill THEM makes THEM stronger...

So here i am 3½ weeks into this infernal-eternal-sinus-infection that might just kill me, and i would be rampaging; but i don’t have the energy.
After having gone through the first week of illness i actually dragged myself to my doctor for a diagnosis and went through a full course of antibiotics~and yes, i took every single one~never skipped a dose (i'm a good little patient when it comes to antiBs~never use them unless absolutely necessary; always take the full course.) Before my course was complete the beastly plague came back with a vengeance, and the doc prescribed another course of the same antibiotic which i tried for five days then, after no results, dragged my ailing body back again. She gave me Bigger, Badder drugs, so, here's hoping...
(in the meantime, my sinuses ache, my ears ache, my throat aches, my throat is sore, i continue to cough, and my migraine refuses to be upstaged; i'm a bit annoyed...)
At the moment my would-be rampaging energy is focused on those who insist on using antibiotics without cause thus helping to bring about our current "superbugs". Did you know this also applies to the current trend of all those antibiotic and antimicrobial soaps, hand sanitizers, cleansers, and whatnot that are all the rage. We're frenziedly and paranoidly cleaning ourselves into even bigger and badder diseases people! Then what will we do to rid ourselves of them. Somehow i thought i was protecting myself by taking care of me and mine but the world influences the whole world (besides i'm miserable and it's so nice to be able to blame someone besides myself for a change)
Anyway, if i Could rampage, this would be the start of my manifesto...

a bit of an extreme reaction...

here's an interesting little tale:

Cardholder found struggling in river
Saturday, February 03, 2007
Mary Beth Lane
LANCASTER, Ohio — A woman who carried no identification except her public library card was plucked from the icy waters of the Hocking River on Thursday night.
Lancaster police were able to identify her as 51-year-old Sheila Springer, but no thanks to the Fairfield County District Library.
Police are considering referring a complaint of obstruction of official business to the Lancaster city prosecutor over library circulation manager Laura Gibson’s refusal to cooperate, Sgt. Randy Greenawalt said yesterday.
Springer remained at Grant Medical Center in Columbus yesterday, but her condition was not made public at her request, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Police got a call from a passer-by at 8:43 p.m. that a woman was in the water behind Carnival Foods along Memorial Drive, where a footbridge crosses the Hocking River.
The caller, 56-year-old Jimmy Willoughby, was walking across the bridge when he heard cries that he initially thought came from a cat in distress, he told police. Then he spotted a woman in the water directly under the bridge.
After he called police, he plunged into the water to help.
Police Officer Eric Eggleston found the man holding the woman’s head above the water. The water was about 1 foot deep, but the current was strong. The two men struggled trying to get her up a steep, slippery riverbank, and then Lancaster firefighters arrived and used ropes to drag her from the water.
She was fully clothed but bore no identification except for her library card on a key ring. A police dispatcher reached the library circulation manager and asked for help identifying the woman. Gibson refused.
Officer Matt Mullett then tried, explaining that it was an emergency and she was required to cooperate, and Gibson refused again, saying she could not release the information without a subpoena, according to the police report.
"I can’t comment," Gibson said yesterday, when reached at the library.
Meanwhile, the woman was identified after she was taken to Fairfield Medical Center, where someone recognized her. She was flown from there to Grant Medical Center.
The woman told Eggleston, who accompanied the rescue squad to Fairfield Medical Center, that she had gone to Carnival Foods to buy a Mountain Dew and was walking back across the footbridge when she wound up in the water. How she got there is still unclear, Eggleston said, because she gave varying accounts.
She hurt her pelvis and leg, the officer said.
Police had not had any trouble with the library before, said Deputy Chief Dave Bailey. He said he had no comment about the librarian’s behavior Thursday night.
Orman Hall, president of the library’s board of trustees, said it was unfortunate that the librarian did not cooperate and suggested that she mistakenly erred on the side of conservatism in preserving the confidentiality of a library patron.
He was confident that library Director Marilyn Steiner would educate the employees on how to work with police.
"We need to do some work," Hall said. "I am confident that Marilyn and her staff will clarify the issues around confidentiality to make sure this doesn’t happen again."
Police plan to honor Willoughby for his efforts, Greenawalt said
now i just have this to say about that:
first off, does the press just go in search of stories to make librarian look like stern, "we must obey the rules at all costs", hands-on-hips, shushing, naysayers (and i'm also questioning the actual "librarian" distinction itself~it seems like the actual job title was Circulation Manager~which doesn't always mean librarian~in my system it doesn't~i know in some systems it does~i know the MILS is a bone of contention among many in the profession {and i also know that you don't ALWAYS have to have one to be a Librarian} but outside of the profession people still seem to think that anyone working within the walls of a library is called a Librarian~and i'm really not saying anything against the paraprofessionals here~just against a press who doesn't do the proper research or a public who remains uninformed of titles.)?
secondly, how much did it really hinder the whole rescue process to NOT know the woman's NAME?
thirdly, yes, there are confidentiality issues, but couldn't she have called someone then and there to give her the okay to give out the name under the circumstances (that is, since she didn't seem to have the common sense to see that yes, she could actually give out the information (and, as someone pointed out on one of my lists, the police ARE allowed to lie to get information, how was the Circulation Manager to know that this wasn't one of those cases~tho i'm not sure how damaging a name could be~again, colour me uninformed) asked and nobody would really fault her for it~at least i don't think so~but maybe that's just the rash, wild, non-stern, non-rule- obeying, librarian in me?)

and the award for most trusted reference source goes to...

NOT Wikipedia.
now who would've guessed???
According to an article in U.K.'s The Register© Wikipedia's most illustrious "professor" previously known as "Essjay" (actually twenty-four-year-old community college drop-out, Ryan Jordan, who had claimed to hold doctoral degrees in both theology and cannon law as well as being a tenured professor at a private university) as resigned his post at Wikia Inc. under the pressure of what is threatening (according the The Register© at least) to topple one of the world's favorite sources and threaten the very idea of wikis or open source web sites.
Very interesting food for thought if nothing else.
Of course, Wikipedia has had its doubters from the beginning, authority and content always are a bit suspect when just anybody can contribute. But Wikia Inc. has been working on its image problems and promoting the idea that it is reliable that quite a few have fallen prey to the idea~ease and accessablity also being at issue here. You almost have admire Jordan's cheekiness though(well, maybe):

Some Wikipedia users argued that Essjay had compounded the deception by flaunting a fictional Ph.D. and professorship to influence the editing on the site.
“People have gone through his edits and found places where he was basically cashing in on his fake credentials to bolster his arguments,” said Michael Snow, a Wikipedia administrator who is also the founder of The Wikipedia Signpost, the community newspaper for which he is covering the story. “Those will get looked at again.”
In a discussion over the editing of the article with regard to the term “imprimatur,” as used in Catholicism, Essjay defended his use of the book Catholicism for Dummies, saying, “This is a text I often require for my students, and I would hang my own Ph.D. on it’s credibility.”

~A Contributor to Wikipedia Has His Fictional Sideby Noam Cohen The New York Times, March 5, 2007

here's what i believe to be some interesting points made by The Register© article:
Does it matter?

The episode has been quite a calamity for the project: Wikipedia funders now regret their contributions, and senior Wikipedia editors regret their personal investment in the project. May we add three points that are in danger of being overlooked-
Firstly, there's the issue of "deception" and the New Yorker. Pranking the media should not be considered a crime; it's an honorable activity. Journalists are deceived on a daily basis - and should be more often, as it keeps us on our toes. When you hear journalists complaining about this onerous obligation - of sifting their sources, you know that privilege has won out over duty. Yet this is something the Pulitzer Prize winner commissioned to write the now notorious feature failed to do.
Make no mistake, Jordan's appearance in the hallowed pages of the New Yorker was not due to his 16,000 edits on Wikipedia, or his natural charisma, or photogenic charms - it was because his sales blurb claimed that he was a Professor of Theology with four degrees. Who better to fulfull Stacy Schiff's brief, to marvel at one of the Wonders of the Modern World? Schiff duly delivered what her editors required: a piece of advertising copy.
It stands as a a warning that evangelism and reporting don't really mix.
Secondly, there's the very elephant in the room that Schiff failed to mention: the cult-like aspect of Web 2.0-flavoured technology-evangelism that we see in projects like Wikipedia. What did the New Yorker miss? Only the obvious, as reader Michael Paxton pointed out via email -
"I know this will sound ridiculous," he writes, "but it is beginning to seem that Wikiology is, more and more, taking on the form of the much maligned (pseudo) religion, Scientology."
"The personality cult, the rejection of conventional truths and realities that challenge the core objectives, the once informal steering groups hardening into a shell of dogma that realises that rejection."
"Hell, the moment I read ArbComm I immediately thought of the Scientology's 'Sea Org'. Both the role as upholders of the core objectives (on behalf of the leader) and the affected air of hand chosen adjudicators of martial law seem to simply add to the rather scarey similarity."
"Please, oh please, warn us if Jimmy Wales ever starts building a navy!"
Not all idealists on the Wikipedia cause are prepared to let this go. Here's a crie de couer from an editor in despair, spotted last week: We've stopped being an encyclopedia. We've stopped using common sense. We've taken our eye of the big picture and focused on ourselves, our myopic power games, our petty process, and our internal need to keep every one in line. We count sources to determine notability - because we need objective rules. Never mind the fact it is absurd. We fight little wars with [Daniel Brandtmonsters of out own imagination]. Never mind the fact they cheapen us. We care not for the damage we do to the real world and its real people, or potential we miss, as long as we can make little rules and have little people follow them.
I'm sick of the little people and their little rules. For now, I want no part of them. I thought there were signs of hope. And I was wrong. + :If this is a direct or indirect result of [List of Internet phenomena], I feel some responsibility for the situation.
Please e-mail me. Which may be the last sound of any conscience the project had ebbing away.
Thirdly, and (almost) finally - there's the question of what Wikipedia's place in the world really is.
A few months ago at a social event, your reporter had an epiphany - but then we all need to get out more. A random stranger was expressing delight at finding "stuff" - information, factoids - on the internet, but couldn't grasp that Wikipedia wasn't owned by Google. When you type in a word, or question, doesn't "stuff" just come out of the computer?
It was hard to explain that Wikipedia was a separate entity that wasn't owned by Google, and even harder to explain - forgive me, dear readers, for I didn't have the courage to explain this - that it was actually Wikipedia that now "owned" Google.

and, from Shelley Powers at her burningbird blog
I've recently stopped using Wikipedia, or stopped using it as an original source. I've found two things:
First, Google's results have degraded in the last year or so. When one ignores Wikipedia in the results, on many subjects most of the results are placement by search engine optimization–typically garbage–or some form of comment or usenet group or some such that's not especially helpful. Good results are now more likely found in the second or third pages.
Second, I find that I'm having to go to more than one page to find information, but when I do, I uncover all sorts of new and interesting goodies. That's one of the most dangerous aspects of Wikipedia (aside from the whole 'truth' thing), or any single-source of information: we lose the ability to discover things on the net through sheer serendipity.
I still respect many of the authors in Wikipedia, and think it's a good source.
However, this event only strengthens my belief that Wikipedia should be pulled to the side for search engine results, like the Ask definition for words that match in Google, and people go back to searching the web by actually searching the web.
So what do you think? Do you still use Wikipedia (if you ever did)? Does this change the way you look at it and how you use the information in any way? And what do you think of Web 2.0? Or is it all just a case of "Where are we all going? And what am i doing in this handbasket???"

Friday, March 09, 2007

i always suspected as much

have you ever wondered if your pet can read your mind?

According to some researchers they can:
A cat disappears when her owners go on vacation each year, yet arrives back at the house an hour before they return. A dog runs to the door, the moment his owner leaves work, and sits and waits expectantly until she arrives home. A man sits on the couch, his dog slumbering in the next room. He thinks, “I should take Daisy for a walk,” and suddenly his dog comes bounding in the room, leash in mouth, anxious to go. A cat curls up next to the phone just before a family member calls, but never when anyone else is about to call. These kinds of stories are told by many pet owners from all over the world.
Most dogs and cats are very attuned to their owners, and quickly learn their patterns, read their body language and anticipate what’s going to happen next. But there are so many stories of pets seeming to know more than their natural senses would allow that it has been the subject of study and debate for years. Are their natural senses even greater than we ever imagined? Or do they have a sixth sense? Some kind of psychic connection to their owners?
Biologist Rupert Sheldrake, author of Dogs That Know When Their Owner is Coming Home believes that animals have perceptive abilities of telepathy and premonitions. Veterinarian and author, Dr. Allan Schoen says in his book, Kindred Spirits, that people and animals are intimately connected. Pets whom we feel especially close to, seem to understand our needs, read our moods, and sometimes even communicate with us on a level that transcends words or body language.
Can pets be so connected and attuned to their owners when they are far apart, even when there is no possible way they could be using their sense of smell or hearing? Physician and author Dr. Larry Dossey, says there is a connection between all species, which is not limited by locality. He refers to it as a “nonlocal mind.” Consciousness is not restricted to the brain or the body or time or place. Therefore people and animals can have an effect on each other, even when miles apart. Traditional scientists remain skeptical about psychic abilities among people – let alone pets! They say much of the phenomenon can be explained in other ways, through pets’ acute senses of hearing and smell, reading human body language, or noting other cues happening in their environment. Dogs and cats live mostly in a scent world, and are also very sensitive to sounds. It may be that when an owner thinks about taking her dog for a walk, this happy thought causes a slight change in her body chemistry, which the dog can smell, and associate with walks. Some who swear their dog knows when their owner is coming home, may find their pets are unable to do so when they come home in a different car. Another simpler explanation is that owners notice their pets’ mysterious behaviors only when related events coincide. The cat may curl up by the phone now and then, but the owner doesn’t notice. If the cat happens to sit by the phone when “dad” calls, the owner is more likely to take note of it. There is no dispute that our pets live on a sensory level that’s different from our own. Though we share the same five known senses, dogs and cats take in their world mostly through scent and sound and act on instinct. We take in our world mostly through sight and act on intellect and emotion. So it’s not surprising that our pets are able to clue in on things that we can’t imagine could be possible. But sometimes, hard science has no explanation for extraordinary pet perception. The debate goes on.
Dixie can always sense an impending veterinarian trip. Once i start putting on my shoes she disappears (as if i never put on my shoes at any other time). I have to put my shoes, the cat carrier, my bag, and any other to-go necessities out of sight, out of mind near the door and hum a little tune to keep my intentions out of my own mind while i stealthily sneak up on her if i plan on getting her to the vet anytime that same day. Interestingly enough i can get a carrier out and leave it in plain sight if it's another cat's turn and it doesn't bother her a bit.
Both Dixie and Demetra seem to know if i'm just pretending to be asleep because they will repeatedly tap me on the face and neck with their paws to get me to pay attention to them (pet them, cuddle, etc). I assume they don't do this when i'm asleep because i never wake up with little claw marks on my face or neck...
My cat Ophelia and i always had i certain kind of mind-meld going on that my roommates were in constant amazement over. She always knew when i was serious (like wanted to go to bed NOW) when i told her to come into my room, and when she could get away with ignoring me. She always knew when i was going to come home (even though i had a completely unpredictable schedule, no car, and we lived on a second floor interior apartment) and would go to the door about five minutes before i was to walk in it. She knew when i needed comforting, she could also express her dissatisfaction with me by placing herself three feet in front of me with her back to me. That cat was my baby and there will never be another like her...