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There's no order here to my random stuff. Just links to interesting/humorous things, ideas, and places that I like and enjoy
and use for entertainment in one form or another in trainings.

My now static collection (about 900!) of fun, interesting, and inspirational quotes. They are arranged in no particular order; that's work for another day. These form part of the "intro" that I use in workshops before starting in the morning and (often) after lunch. (New quotes go into these materials.) Link is to a Word® file so you can easily use them for bulletin notices and activities.
Here's a link to one of my favorite sources for quotes.
As they say, 1500+ talks to stir your curiosity. Endlessly interesting and informative!  
Veritas Prep aims to help students do well of college entrance examinations and write better essays, Clear help here!  
This citation guide includes why citation is important, when it should be used, styles, and tools to help students. Thanks to Lucy and her students in Ohio.  
  • Wonderful gifts and at-home shopping

I purchased many gifts from artists and homemakers working from their homes. I used to have more time and energy for making my own gifts. But life is short, and crafts can be a commitment of many hours which makes me appreciate even more those who do keep up with their passion for crafts. I particularly like buying from local artists. Failing that, I try to buy arts and crafts where the money goes as directly as possible into the hands of the person who created the goods.  Sites like www.etsy.com and www.artfire.com make it easier than ever to find reputable folks creating art and selling it to others.

If you're looking for a wonderful gift for a child, here's my favorite source for wooden toys, educational toys, and kids' furniture on the web! Almost mopthing is battery operated or tied to any TV show or movie

Interesting, little known, unusual, strange facts. Again, many of these are in the "intro". 
Thanks to Seth for sending me so many of these. Others come from Trivia Time.

Many of you have asked for a list of the music used during a workshop. Here's the current version. All have been downloaded from iTunes - not to give then a plug. There's just about 3 hours of good listening here. While I've added many of my own selections, the original (and inspiration) comes from a playlist collection developed by Rhett Laubach. This list is the real core, however, you'll hear some additions in training sessions.

Muddled English

A blog with all kinds of examples of "misused" quotation marks.
If you love words, check alphadictionary. Among other things - take the Yankee or Rebel quiz; learn about folk etymologies; check over 300 on-line foreign language dictionaries; search 1065 online English dictionaries at once

Life's lessons, truisms, and twists.  This list includes Murphy's Laws of Technology.

  • Finagle's Laws of Information

    Source unknown.
  1. The information you have is not what you want.
  2. The information you want is not what you need.
  3. The information you need is not what you can obtain.
  4. The information you can obtain costs more than you want to pay.
These must be endless!  This group addresses science and experiments - but many relate to life! This page is large and loads slowly. If you want just the text, click here.
Paul B. Salmon, former executive director of the American Association of School Administrators, gives school administrators 23 laws - not the only things one needs to be a successful school administrator, but, Salmon says, they can't hurt you.
The article “Who’s got the monkey” by William Oncken is one of the two best selling articles Harvard Business Review articles ever.  It has been reprised by Steven Covey below. Even if you have read it before, it is well worth re-reading every now and then.
  • Two Ways of Working:
    Which is your model?
Discuss and Decide or Refer and Report
From Warren Benis' book, On Becoming a Leader (Addison-Wesley, 1994)
Wouldn't it be great if someone created an online game that builds student vocabulary in a way that has kids clamoring to play? And wouldn't it be great if we could solve the problem of world hunger? Free Rice combines these two worthy (if disparate) goals.  Each  word defined correctly builds your tally of grains of rice donated to poor communities, and the game is designed to scale the difficulty of the words up or down depending on your responses. This features allows students of almost any age or ability to enjoy it.
Write clearly.  But, for fun, you can create new and interesting jargon.
  • Important and Urgent or Willing and Able
These 2x2 matrices ask us to question the importance and urgency of each task or the sense of capacity and commitment on the part of an individual or group to be connected to an idea.  Alan Covey suggests that virtually all of our work be in the "Important but not Urgent" quadrant.  We all know that we'll take care of the "Important and Urgent" tasks and that there's no time for the "Not Important and Not Urgent" group. Summarily, we'd want to test the responses required for each of the four types of people (willing and ablevs not willing and not able) to develop the appropriate response to move them along the way versus not willing and not able) to develop the appropriate response to move them along the continuum.  Try this same 2x2 approach on other decisions - useful and convenient? healthy and good tasting?

Action Verbs
Illustrative Verbs which includes verbs linked to Bloom's taxonomy

Often writers struggle for the right verb.  These lists can trigger new thoughts.
A technical writer now makes her living as Grammar Girl, a character created for a grammar-infused podcast that is growing in popularity. Learn the difference between lay and lie; how not to split infinitives, and other mysteries of grammar.

The Grammar and Punctuation Glossary provides easy to understand rules for ensuring perfect writing. Thanks to Morgan for sharing this link.

Use the on line version to update your knowledge about proper usage. There's also a a download version for $25 and a Deluxe version which includes spelling slammer for $49.


With Google Translator, your users can translate passages of text or entire Web pages among nine languages, or they can quickly translate your page into their language of choice. Available in many languages and, of course, the service is free!

Common advise from knowledgeable horse trainers includes the adage, "If the horse you're riding dies, get off!"  Simple enough, yet in the education business we don't always follow that advice.
Gladiola Montana looks at change through the eyes of a cowgirl.
With appreciation to the unknown soul who gathered this ageless wisdom.
Help staff members relax, enjoy life, and keep using stress management skills.  Thanks to Judi and Karen for sharing this one with me at different times.
This often used analogy teaches us about leadership and group processes.
From the California Assembly Select Committee on Low Performing Schools (1999).
So the story goes, The Washington Post published these winning new words for 2005 from a contest sponsored by Mensa. They're fun, however, there's no reference to the "contest" on either sponsoring organization's website nor does either organization take public credit for the contest or the winners. These are often the "adult entertainment" after lunch.
For those who have asked, here's the link to the complete list of the "All-Time Best of the worst country song titles." I do not vouch for their authenticity.
  • Anagrams are words or phrases formed by rearranging the letters of another word or phrase. For example, Elvis to Lives. Check out wordsmith.com
They say that "All life's wisdom can be found in anagrams. Anagrams never lie." The truths they tell may not bring enlightenment, but they can be surpassingly accurate. Rearrange all the letters in "Clint Eastwood," for example, and get "Old West Action." Input any word, name, or phrase to get a list of its anagrams. 
Most people know about claustrophobia, agoraphobia, and xenophobia. But do you know what people fear when they suffer from ephebiphobia, logizomechanophobia, or homichlophobia? Teenagers, computers, and fog. Learn about hundreds of phobias at this site.


This site lives up to its name with useful tips on how to clean pretty much anything you could possibly own or get dirty. All your cleaning needs will be met with instructions on how to polish everything from mold on your boat to Christmas Tree sap.
Described as "an Internet Kid World guide to being a great iKidWorld Web Wizard," this link is to interesting and "cool stuff" on the Internet.

This site salutes "the improvement of the species by honoring those who accidentally remove themselves from it, thereby ensuring that the next generation is one idiot smarter. Of necessity, this award is (generally) bestowed posthumously."

The art and science of traveling very light.
If you aren't familiar with The Oriental Trading Company, you can buy a gross of almost anything for $19.95 or less. Select timely and clever objects to add to meeting notices, to spice up thank you notes, and to serve as prizes.  
Way too many great cookie recipes!
As if the cookies weren't enough......

Through extensive research, Search Institute has identified the 40 building blocks of healthy development that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible. The asset definitions shown in this chart are based on research on adolescents (6th to 12th grades). Here's the link to their research.
Explanations of just how lots of stuff works - automobiles, science, health, communications, travel. HowStuffWorks has won the 2007 Webby Award and People's Voice Award in the Best Copy/Writing and Education categories, for a total of four awards.
Then, there's eHow - how to do just about everything with articles and videos from experts as well as user-contributed ones.

And, University of Virginia physics professor Louis A. Bloomfield uses his site to answer questions from students and other curious Web surfers about the inner workings of the physical world (with a particular emphasis on electronics and machinery). A good place to start browsing is the "Select Topic" menu in the left-hand navigation bar, which lets you jump quickly to subjects that interest you.
Anyone studying literature needs this site bookmarked. Reference, verse, fiction, and nonfiction all available and searchable.
Part of Bartleby, this one is so mission critical you just might want to keep a hard copy on your shelf. This classic reference book by William Strunk, Jr. is a must-have for any student and conscientious writer. Intended for use in which the practice of composition is combined with the study of literature, it gives in brief space the principal requirements of plain English style and concentrates attention on the rules of usage and principles of composition most commonly violated.
So many books, so little time. Those who have already multi-tasked themselves out of their book group may find a solution at Book-A-Minute, where readers can digest an entire season of Oprah picks on your lunch break.

As the name suggests, the site condenses books of all kinds into a script-like format anyone can read in under a minute. The oft-dreaded text Beowulf, for example, becomes five quick lines that pretty much capture the main plot points, if not the poetry, of the original. Books are grouped by Science Fiction/Fantasy, Bedtime, and Classics and occasionally readers are allowed to vote - very quickly - for their favorites.
Try this companion site. With these ultra-condensed versions of your favorite films, you can experience whole movies in just one minute!
Students, writers, and poetry lovers will be pleased to discover this cool site. Part of the PoetryFoundation.Org website, The Poetry Tool allows users to easily search through a vast database of poetry, articles, audio, and other information.

Browse through the site's significant archive of poems, poets, audio/visuals, articles, and other literary materials. Visitors looking for a specific piece can find it easily by searching by "Category", "Occasion", "Title", or "First Line". Parents and kids will enjoy the Poetry Tool's special "Children's" section, which contains a list of age-relevant poetry for young readers.

Amateur chefs, aspiring gourmets, and loving parents will all appreciate the Recipe Source website. The site is the new home of the Searchable Online Archive of Recipes (SOAR), which allows you to search through literally thousands of delicious recipes by Keyword, Region (for Ethnic Cuisines), or Type of Dish. Foodies will happily find ethnic recipes from everywhere from Armenia to Wales, as well as tasty tips on preparing desserts, healthy meals, Holiday foods, appetizers and much more.


The human body is one of Nature's truly incredible achievements, a complex creation of interconnected systems that we all call home. InnerBody.Com presents Human Body Online, a virtual tour of human anatomy that explores its many different systems of the body. Take a closer look at the diverse, biological architecture of the human body by simply clicking on the icons. You will find virtually interactive, educational guides to the "Skeletal", "Digestive", "Muscular", "Lymphatic", "Nervous", "Cardiovascular", and "Reproductive" systems of the body.

This powerful website displays a variety of World Statistics in real-time, helping people to bridge the gap between abstract global concepts and important, objective data. The Worldometers site let's you watch the world turn with your very own eyes, with immediate stats relating to crucial issues such as "The Environment", "Food", "Health", "Water", and "Energy".  Visitors will watch in awe as the Worldometer tracks a list of statistics, some frightening and some amusing, such as the current Earth population, the rate of forest loss, the number of bicycles produced annually, the amount of money Americans spend on perfume, and many other mind-blowing figure.

Whether you are fascinated by geography, international politics, or general trivia, this website is sure to be worthy of a bookmark. NationMaster.Com is a virtual treasure trove of information, a central data source with extensive facts on the many different nations of the world.

Combining a wealth of data from the UN, the CIA World Factbook, and OECD, Nation Master allows users to use statistics, as well as generate graphs and maps to compare the resources of different countries. Learn about individual nations, compare stats on everything from "soft drink consumption" to "endangered species population", and check out the "Flags" section to the many unique colors and symbols of the world's nations.


This site can be a bit frustrating because it provides library catalogs and bibliographic information for books and resources held in worldwide libraries, but it's also a front end to the Library's special exhibits. The exhibits are beautiful, but distractions if they're not on topic. A new search engine that's in beta now and turns up voice recordings, still images, and other multimedia as well as text should make searching through the catalog easier.
Listening to "books on tape" is a relatively modern practice, a practical alternative to reading that is used by the visually impaired, regular road trippers, and many other people.  Librivox.Org is an ambitious project that, with the help of many volunteers, aims to convert every single book in the United States public domain into free, downloadable audio files. This non-profit, open source website takes podcasting to a whole new level, with its bold goal of the "acoustical liberation of books in the public domain".  The virtual library is filled with thousands of "audiobooks" that have been diligently recorded one chapter at a time by volunteer readers.  Download an audio book of interest, browse the latest news on the project, or volunteer your free time and become an official Librivox reader.
Think of RefDesk as a giant portal to every reference guide you'd ever need. Dictionaries, encyclopedias, atlases. The Farmer's Almanac, daily newspapers from around the world, the CIA Factbook, the Merck Manual, and that's just a few. RefDesk is as close to a resource of resources that you'll find.
Enter a date and get a "time capsule," a listing of the top news headlines, songs, toys and books, plus sample prices (like stamps at 2 cents each in 1921) and a list of celebrities born on that day. A cool birthday gift, the list can also be customized by adding your own headlines, songs, etc. to those of history.
Anyone who has ever conducted research online should make their way through the stacks to the Library Spot, a "vertical portal" that helps users sidestep information overload to access the best library and reference materials on the web today.

Internet info-seekers will find this award-winning site an invaluable resource for online research. More than just a vast collection of URLs, each site featured is selected for exceptional quality, content and usefulness by an editorial team. The result is a guide to a vast diversity of material: historical, grammatical, statistical, even image libraries, plus links to other library sites and a Reading Room for newspapers, journals and magazines.  
In addition to news about the latest words and phrases to gain dictionary status, the site has word quizzes, puzzles and crosswords; a jargon buster to help average Joes understand what's so bad about errors like dangling participles; a searchable database of FAQs on such topics as word origins, spelling and dictionaries; articles and interviews about English usage; and a chance to ask the Oxford experts anything to do with the English language.

Trivia buffs and random knowledge seekers will love this fact-filled website.  Part of CoolQuiz.Com, the site delivers a daily dose of random information, bizarre facts, riddles, quotes and other tidbits that will keep you busy for hours. Browse through the many fun features on the Cool Quiz website, which is updated everyday with brand new useless info.  Highlights include "Bad Predictions", which glimpses back at erroneous historical prognostications, as well as the section entitled "That Explains It!" where visitors can find answers to some of life's most cryptic questions.


Whether you are a first-time visitor, or a long time fan of the wonderfully original blog Neatorama.Com, you will love their "only" section. 'Neatorama Only' features the best, worst, smallest, largest, first, oldest, and coolest of pretty much every subject this quirky blog has ever showcased. Browse the section and find truly memorable posts, including photos and write-ups on "The Worst Molasses-related Disaster", "The Top Ten Coolest BBQ Grills", "The Oldest Photography", and the adorable "Top 15 Amazingly Fattest Cats".
"If you could teach the world just one thing about science and why?" is the question asked in this interesting article. The article contains the responses to the compelling question as given by eleven Nobel Laureates and hundreds of renowned scientists from all around the world. Read the inspired responses from esteemed scientists such as Richard Dawkins, Paul Davies, Susan Haack and others.

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Copyright 1998-2007 Louise Wright Robertson

Site last modified & updated December 09, 2013