Saturday, February 27, 2010

Some interesting differences and similarities between cat and dog lovers!

Do you rejoice at the sound of barking but cower at a meow? Or do you look at a cat and feel an instant sibling-style connection?

A team of researchers led by psychologist Sam Gosling at the University of Texas at Austin wanted to find out. It posted a questionnaire online as part of a larger study about personality called the Gosling-Potter Internet Personality Project.

About 4,500 participants answered questions that measured their personality inclinations in five areas: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. These five dimensions have been shown in previous research to encompass most personality traits. They also indicated whether they considered themselves cat people, dog people, both or neither.

It turns out that the "dog people" -- based on how people identified themselves, not on what animals they actually own -- tend to be more social and outgoing, whereas "cat people" tend to be more neurotic but "open," which means creative, philosophical, or nontraditional in this context.

To love cats, you have to be able to love things for themselves; they have their own life, they aren't necessarily dependent on you. Your dog kind of lives for you.

Dog people scored significantly higher on extraversion, agreeableness and conscientiousness measures, and lower on neuroticism and openness than cat people, the survey found. The effect persisted regardless of gender of the respondent.

"Once you know the findings, it kind of falls into place," Gosling said. "You think, 'of course, agreeableness and extraversion -- dogs are companionable, they hang out, they like to be with you, they like your company, whereas cats like it for as long as they want it, and then they're off."

But this foray into your deeper pet subconscious isn't the final word, Gosling says -- after all, if the findings had been reversed, they would also make sense to some people. These are, of course, generalizations and don't apply to every individual.

The findings do make sense to 12-year-old Naveen Rajur, a "loving dog boy" in Andover, Massachusetts, who considers dog people to be outgoing and active. He also agrees about the agreeableness and conscientiousness of dog people because they "always have to want to take care of the dog and always kind of be by its side."
Fabian Bonasera of Norcross, Georgia, who must give away his two cats soon because he and his wife and son are moving to Iceland, said the cat findings are about half-true of himself -- he considers himself laid-back and easy-going rather than neurotic, but the "openness" does resonate with him.

"They just like something a little more soft, more gentle," he said of cat people. "They're good pets, they're more independent, they do their own thing."

Cat rescue volunteer Eddye Sheffield, of Gadsden, Alabama, said she's seen all kinds of cat owners, and can't pin down personality traits that apply to all cat people. Outsiders might label Sheffield herself a "crazy cat lady" because she has 11 cats, she said, but she doesn't view herself that way.

"All of them are rescued cats and they need a place to go, and I had room, that's how I ended up with that many," she said. Owning that many has also gotten her more involved in rescue efforts, which has put her into more contact with other people, not less (score one for extraversion).

Veterinarian David Bessler, senior emergency clinician at NYC Veterinary Specialists in New York City, said he was a dog person growing up, but that owning a cat has "converted " him. It hasn't changed his personality, but he can imagine that dog people and cat people have personality differences.

"To love cats, you have to be able to love things for themselves; they have their own life, they aren't necessarily dependent on you," he said. "Your dog kind of lives for you."

Participants in Gosling's study were recruited to the study through search engines, portal sites, voluntary mailing lists, and word of mouth from other visitors. The study will appear in the journal Anthrozoos in September 2010.

The findings are useful for identifying the right pet for a particular person, and for pet therapies, Gosling said.

Is it that people choose pets that are like them, or that pets change people over time? Research has not come to a conclusion on this question, experts say.

Beyond personality characteristics, people may have physical features in common with the animals they like or own. A study by University of British Columbia psychologist Stanley Coren found that women with long hair liked Springer spaniels and beagles, which have long ears, and women with short hair liked the short-eared basenjis and huskies.

A study by Michael Roy and Nicholas Christenfeld found that participants could match photographs of owners to their purebred dogs about 67 percent of the time, based on appearance alone. Results suggested that the owners selected dogs that looked like themselves and did not grow to look like the dogs over time, as there was no relationship between how long the people had lived with the animals and how similar they looked.

Both of those studies are mentioned in an upcoming book called "Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why it is So Hard to Think Straight About Animals" by Hal Herzog, professor of psychology at Western Carolina University.

There are plenty of reasons why a cat person would own a dog, or vice versa: allergies as well as other lifestyle factors, such as space for the animal, come into play.

Herzog and his wife consider themselves dog people, but own a cat, Tilly, because they can easily leave her alone when they go away for the weekend.

Although he appreciates cats, he does not feel that owning one has changed his personality. But, Tilly is fairly social for a cat, he said, which may have something to do with how she was raised.

Empty-nesters such as Herzog and his wife, as well as retirees, are among those increasing pet ownership in America, he said.

About 37 percent of American households have dogs and 32 percent have cats, but the cat population (82 million) is significantly higher than the dog population (72 million), said Herzog, citing 2007 data from the American Veterinary Medical Association. That's because people tend to own multiple cats, as they are more amenable to many people's lifestyles, he said.

People tend to gravitate toward the animals they were raised with, Herzog said. Cat owners tend to be raised in cat families, and dog owners tend to be raised in dog families. In fact, one study found the animal you like is the one your grandparents lived with, he said.

The field of anthrozoology, the study of how animals and people relate to one another, only recently took off, Herzog said.

"I think our interactions with animals shed a lot of light on larger issues in human psychology," he said. "With pets it's things like attachment and why we're altruistic toward other creatures, especially creatures that we're not genetically related to."

I happen to love both dogs and cats! Yourself?

Monday, February 22, 2010

How to survive on a teacher's salary of $39,000/year!

Please pause playlist on bottom of page to watch video.

Sounds like a great book for these tough economic times!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, BC, Canada

The XXI Olympic Winter Games will be held February 12-28, 2010 in the host city of Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Who will light Vancouver's Olympic flame?
Both past and current heroes are among the choices.

By David Klatt

When the Olympic flame finally emerges from the tunnel inside BC Place, we will be moments away from answering an especially symbolic question: Who will be the last person to receive the flame and light the Olympic cauldron? Rumors are already beginning to swirl in the host city.

Four distinguished Canadians make compelling cases for the honor.

One choice is Betty Fox, the mother of one of the most admired men in Canadian history.

When Terry Fox was 18, he was diagnosed with cancer. Chemotherapy forced an amputation of Fox's right leg, but the Vancouver native didn't let it slow him down. Three years later, in 1980, Fox set out on a mission to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research.

Fox's pace was astounding. Running on a prosthetic leg, he logged one marathon per day continuously for more than 300 days. Canadian families followed Fox's 'Marathon of Hope' from their living rooms.

Terry Fox's mission was cut short when doctors discovered he'd been running with cancerous tumors in his lungs. Fox passed away ten months later, but Canadians continued to respond to his call for action with millions in donations and some of the country's highest humanitarian honors.

A Facebook campaign in support of Betty Fox is building momentum online. The group, which now has more than 125,000 members, was started by Trev Fisher. He remembers following Terry Fox's run on television when he was young.

"Usually an athlete lights the cauldron, but Betty Fox has done so much for this country. She has carried on his work for cancer research," says Fisher. "She defines what a true Canadian hero is."

A new Olympic award that bears Terry Fox's name will be handed out in Vancouver to the Olympian who best exemplifies Fox's mission.

Rick Hansen

Rick Hansen is also strong candidate to light the flame. At age 15, a car crash paralyzed Hansen from the waist down. Always the athlete, Hansen simply changed gears and went on to represent Canada in several Paralympic sports, winning medals in both the 1980 and 1984 Paralympic Games.

Hansen credits his friend and wheelchair basketball teammate Terry Fox as an inspiration.

Hansen currently runs the foundation that bears his name. He is actively involved in raising awareness of spinal cord injuries. Hansen is originally from British Columbia and he shared the title of 1983's Canadian Athlete of the Year with Canadian hockey legend Wayne Gretzky.

'The Great One'

Distinguished former athletes have a history of lighting the flame and that makes Canada's most respected hockey player a contender. The NHL's all-time leading scorer, Wayne Gretzky, never won a gold medal for his country with his skates on.

But after more than half a century without hockey gold, Gretkzy managed Team Canada to the top of the podium in Salt Lake back in 2002. It goes without saying: to Canadians, his nickname 'The Great One' is not so much about hyperbole as it is rooted in the record books.

Speed skater Cindy Klassen

One of Canada's most decorated Olympians is still competing and while current Olympians aren't chosen frequently, it's still possible. Speed skater Cindy Klassen could be called on to open the Games.

In Torino, Klassen became the first Canadian to win five medals in a single Olympics. Her six total medals is also a Canadian record. Klassen has qualified to skate in the 3000m in Vancouver.

The most recent athlete to light the Olympic flame to open the Games she was competing in is Australia's Cathy Freeman in Sydney 2000.

Where are the children in this snowfall?

It's nearly 3:00 p.m. and as I'm typing this post, I hear no giggles or laughter coming from outdoors. It's our first major snowfall of the season, schools are closed, traffic is at a standstill, and I don't hear or see children sledding, throwing snowballs, nothing! Don't get me wrong, I'm thoroughly enjoying the peace and quiet, but where are the children? My neighborhood consists of blocks of middle-class families, not lacking in youngsters.

When children, we couldn't wait for that snow day or two. Dressed for the cold, we'd grab our sleds to plunge into the fresh, virgin snow and fly! All kidding aside, I'm ready to get dressed and go door-to-door to ask the neighbors to join in some old-fashioned winter fun! Are they too busy behind computers (asking the same question?) or watching television? What happened to enjoying a day off from school in the outdoors? Where are the children?

Hmm... I think I'll get dressed and get in touch with my child, perhaps even enjoy what mother nature has showered us so freely with!

See you in a few! :))

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Interested in TimeWarping? Many are going back into the past, dressing up the part, and living in it.

The following are samplings of a movement of individuals who consider living and dressing in another time period -- full-time!

Which period do you believe you'd time warp to?

Me? I'd need a time machine to decide! ;)

Find more photos like this on Living History Worldwide

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Interesting Commentary by Michael Medved--Can 'Avatar' save Oscar?

An interesting take on the Academy Awards and the Oscar by Michael Medved for CNN on February 2, 2010.

Editor's note: Michael Medved's daily, syndicated radio show on politics and pop culture has drawn top-ten audiences for more than a decade. Author of the newly published "The 5 Big Lies about American Business," Medved is the former chief film critic of The New York Post and former co-host of PBS' "Sneak Previews."

Seattle, Washington (CNN) -- While dramatizing the against-the-odds rescue of a noble, harmonious alien society called the Na'vi, James Cameron's "Avatar" may also effectuate the rescue of a nasty, contentious alien society known as Hollywood -- or at least save Tinseltown's annual Oscar extravaganza from its long-term ratings slump.

The annual Academy Awards telecast used to be one of the big, unifying cultural events that most Americans shared and talked about -- like the Super Bowl, or presidential election night, or Christmas Eve. As recently as the 1990's, more than 40 million U.S. viewers -- according to The Nielsen Company -- watched the broadcast in whole or in part, and spoke the next day about the best and worst gowns, the dumbest acceptance speeches, and the biggest surprises in the major categories.

Beginning with the awards for the film year 2003, however, the ratings for Hollywood's big show took a sharp turn for the worse, dipping consistently below the 40 million figure (despite sharply increased population) and reaching an all-time low in 2008, according to Nielsen.

The problem wasn't the quality of the hosts or the clumsiness of the big musical numbers, but the year-after-year nature of the top nominated films, with deeply depressing, art-house fare ("Million Dollar Baby," "Crash") reliably crowding out more popular releases.

The infamous 2008 Oscar telecast experienced a crash all its own, with just 31.76 million viewers -- or barely one out of ten Americans, according to Nielsen. As The Hollywood Reporter observed, the collapse in the size of the audience had everything to do with the gloomy nature of the leading nominees, all of which scored high on "the depression meter. ... 'Atonement,' 'Michael Clayton,' 'Juno,' 'No Country for Old Men,' and 'There Will Be Blood' were the bedsheet-noose best picture nominees."

The ratings last year rebounded slightly, with the relatively upbeat "Slum Dog Millionaire" delivering some old-fashioned uplift with its reassuringly familiar poor-boy-makes-good and love-conquers-all messages, despite the exotic (and sometimes brutal) Mumbai, India, settings.

For this year's March 7 broadcast, however, industry insiders tell me they expect a spectacular increase in the size of the TV audience -- perhaps even surpassing the huge 1998 ratings that set a recent record: 55 million viewers, nearly twice the viewership for 2008, according to Nielsen.

Sure, Billy Crystal's sprightly humor helped attract the hordes who viewed the '98 spectacle -- but the big attraction was a very big movie: "Titanic," the ultimate winner of 11 Oscars and, at the time, the top grossing motion picture ever released. No wonder James Cameron proudly proclaimed himself "king of the world" while scooping up his gold baldie for Best Director.

Well, 2010 will witness the "Return of the King" (you should pardon the expression), with "Avatar" replacing "Titanic" as history's top money-maker and listed as a heavy favorite for numerous Academy Awards (particularly in the technical arena).

The Oscar telecast will get a huge boost from all the avid "Avatar" fanatics, many of whom have seen the movie over and over again. Popular favorite Sandra Bullock, odds-on favorite to win Best Actress (she's already won the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards and tied for the Critics Choice Awards) will draw additional viewers who made the heartwarming, faith-family-and-football saga "The Blind Side" one of last year's most successful surprises.

Ironically, the presence of such populist fare on any list of sure-thing nominees makes the much-ballyhooed reform of the Best Picture category largely unnecessary when it comes to insuring a successful telecast.

Instead of five nominees as in the past, this year the Academy selected 10 films as candidates for the top prize, hoping to guarantee at least a few popular box office winners to go along with the usual dark, despairing and little-seen indie offerings on the ever-popular theme of "Life Sucks." (Actually, Mel Brooks directed a 1991 film originally entitled "Life Sucks," later released as "Life Stinks," which won no Oscar nominations and garnered the worst box office returns of his long, distinguished career.)

The good side of doubling the number of nominees involves increasing the chances for worthy films to get additional recognition, like the superb animated Disney/Pixar release "Up," which was nominated for Best Picture.

There is, however, a downside to the expansion of the Best Picture category: By swelling the number of nominees, the Academy contributes to the ongoing fragmentation of our culture. In recent years, only a handful of ferociously committed film buffs (and professional critics) could claim to have seen all five of the top nominees, and with ten choices now for the top prize, the number of moviegoers to have seen them all -- or even able to talk about them all -- will shrink even further.

In a similar vein, the expansion of television into innumerable cable networks (way beyond the traditional big three broadcast operations) may have vastly expanded the number of worthy offerings, but greatly reduces the cultural impact of any one of them.

"Mad Men" or "The Sopranos" may be great, but can't compare to the ability of old shows like "I Love Lucy" or "Mash" or "The Cosby Show" to bring Americans together for a few moments of entertainment across all demographic divisions.

Because of "Avatar's" phenomenal popularity, it may look like this year's Oscar show will have recaptured that unifying potential; but once the Na'vi send the corporate invaders back to Earth and recede into movie history, the centrifugal force of too many choices and ever-multiplying niche audiences will kick in once more and dictate the further atomization of our civilization. Not even James Cameron can fight the long-term trend.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Michael Medved.