Owen E Freeman – The Merry Dog https://themerrydog.com Thu, 04 Apr 2019 11:09:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.19 New school, new friends, new start: Rebuilding education in Mosul https://themerrydog.com/new-school-new-friends-new-start-rebuilding-education-in-mosul/ Tue, 18 Sep 2018 14:18:35 +0000 http://themerrydog.com/?p=151828

WEST MOSUL, Iraq, 27 June 2018 – Last year, Tabarak, Safa and Dima were all forced to flee their homes in Mosul when the city was consumed by war. Though they didn’t know each other yet, the three girls would soon become inseparable.

“We work together. We play together,” says Dima. “We love to read in English. We especially like the stories for girls. We also like to write our own stories and read them to each other.”

The girls met a few months ago when they all started attending the al-Huda Primary School in west Mosul.

“When I first came to school six months ago, I sat next to Safa. We were introduced that way,” says Tabarak.

But at this time last year, the girls couldn’t venture outside their homes, much less go to classes. During the military operations to retake the city in 2017, it was too unsafe to attend.

“During ISIL, we only went to school for the first year, and then we stopped because the curriculum changed,” says Tabarak. “At first it was like a holiday because I hate waking up early. But then we got bored. We had to spend most of our time hiding in the basement, so we were scared and bored.”

Tabarak and Dima were some of the lucky ones who were able to continue their education while they were displaced. Tabarak’s mother is an Arabic teacher who taught her at home during the years she was out of school. Dima and her family were displaced to Erbil, where she managed to attend classes.

But many children were not so fortunate. Hundreds of thousands of children in ISIL-affected areas missed at least one year of education. Schools were damaged or destroyed, and many still have no teachers or resources.

The al-Huda school in west Mosul is very close to the old city – the most heavily-hit neighbourhood. Buildings around the school have been completely destroyed. The children have to step over a fallen lamp post to cross the street into the school.

It is one of 256 schools UNICEF has helped rehabilitate in Mosul since the end of 2016, benefitting over 250,000 students. Work is ongoing in another nine schools in west Mosul so classes can restart.

Rebuilding a brighter future

Today, the girls crowd together at one desk in their classroom. Tabarak, with her enormous eyes and dimpled smile, is holding Safa’s hand. Dima is grinning like she’s about to make a joke.

“When we came back to school, we were so happy to see our friends again,” says Dima.

“I was a little nervous because I didn’t know anyone. But then I met Safa and Dima, and it was all ok,” says Tabarak. She and her family were displaced from their home in west Mosul to the other side of the city where it was marginally safer. They have returned to a different neighbourhood in west Mosul as their neighbourhood is still not suitable to live in.

The three best friends are now some of al-Huda Primary School’s best and brightest students. They all sport ribbons announcing their success in school, and at 9 and 10 years old, are looking toward a future that they feel they have a hand in shaping.

“I want to be a pilot!” Safa says decisively. “I want to be a dentist,” says Dima. “And I want to be a pharmacist,” says Tabarak.

The girls also have clear ideas about how to improve their country. “If I were president, I’d give money to the poor. They don’t have anything, so we have to help them,” says Tabarak.

Safa, the more practical one in the trio of friends, is also concerned about rebuilding. “I want to repair schools. It will help people return home, and will give people work.”

Dima shows no hesitation when asked what she would do for Iraq. “I’d build a mall! Everyone likes shopping.”

This level of engagement—particularly from the girls—is a heartening sign for what Mosul can become. These bright young students have ideas, energy and most importantly, they have hope.

A lost generation

Without access to quality education, too many Iraqi children are at risk of becoming a lost generation. Nearly 3.5 million school aged Iraqi children do not attend school or attend irregularly, and more than 600,000 displaced children have missed an entire year of schooling.

In addition to helping along Safa’s dream of rehabilitating school buildings in Mosul, UNICEF has provided recreation equipment, first aid supplies, teacher’s kits and learning materials for 224,000 students to date.

To address the significant mental health needs of students affected by conflict, UNICEF has supported psychosocial training for 25 key education staff in Mosul who will visit  schools to train teachers.

Al-Huda school is one of 30 schools in Mosul that UNICEF supports with training to help the schools and the local community draft and implement School Improvement Plans. UNICEF also provides grants to all 30 schools.


I Put My Dog Down Today https://themerrydog.com/i-put-my-dog-down-today/ Fri, 30 Jun 2017 08:07:26 +0000

She didn’t have the best life. I have a lot of resentment the way my dog Sheba grew up—family stuff I don’t need to get into, but she did not get enough attention at home. She was a big German Shepard who demanded more activity than our family could possibly give her. No one was home often enough, people rarely came over, and it was just in general not a good environment for a pet.

I never even wanted a dog, but as I grew older, I started—first out of pity, then genuine affection—to play with her, give her love, get to know her. She began to become “my dog.” Friends would say that when I took her places or left her in the car while I did something, she would watch me with a sense of ultimate loyalty, waiting for me to come back. When I’d come home from school, we’d run around together in the backyard. When I ate by myself, I would share a little bit of whatever I had with her.

But I was rarely home—there was a lot of fighting in my house growing up, and I would stay out as often as I could, distracting myself with school or friends.

So while there was love for Sheba, there was also neglect, and that neglect got to her. The energy she wasn’t displacing would manifest itself in squeals, cries, whenever anyone came over. People who came over could sense Sheba’s anxiety and loneliness, and I could too, but I was anxious and lonely myself, and young, and immature.

It’s a tragic irony, because in the last years of her life, Sheba developed muscular sclerosis. Day by day, a dog that always needed to move more lost her ability to move at all. I would come home from college and she would scramble up to see me, but she wouldn’t have the strength to do it. It was heartbreaking; I was watching my dog die before my eyes.

It was a fight to get her to be put down. I would think about Sheba, how she’d be in the house all day by herself, paralyzed, lonely, sad. How she had stopped eating, how she was losing her sight and hearing. I knew it was the right decision, and so did everyone else who saw her condition, but my dad didn’t want to let her go. There were horrible fights made about her welfare—me completely losing my temper and telling my dad that he didn’t want the dog put down because he didn’t want to be alone in life. Things I regret saying, things I don’t ever want to say again.

We finally made the appointment, but even the last day before we put her down, there was a horrible fight at home. Things being shattered, threats being made. I stood on the stairs and watched as my dog tried to limp away from the fighting. “Typical,” I thought, as my eyes started to sting with tears. So typical of my family. The last night my dog has on Earth we would have to pull some shit like this.

I sat down next to Sheba to console her. I was crying for a number of reasons. Sheba should have had a better life, my family shouldn’t be like this—things I couldn’t change but wish had turned out differently. But instead of me comforting her, she seemed to sense my sadness and started licking me. I leaned my face closer to hers and she smelled my face for a second, then licked it. It tickled and I laughed.

That last night, I spent a long time sitting next to Sheba. I held her and petted her and she licked my feet and hands over and over again. I whispered that no matter what, she was always going to be my dog, my #1, my favorite, forever. Her mouth cracked open and it looked like a smile, but I couldn’t tell. Her tail had long since given out, so I couldn’t tell if it was wagging or not. But she wasn’t squealing or crying anymore. She didn’t seem to be in pain. She laid her head down and closed her eyes as I rubbed her.

The next morning, my dad and I drove to the vet in silence. The words and conflict of last night were still very much in between us. Sheba sat in the backseat, watching the trees go by for the last time.

At the vet, they injected Sheba with a sedative and took all of us into a private room. We surrounded Sheba as she laid on a mat and looked sleepy. “You’re just going to take a little nap,” I said to her.

The vet took a syringe out and said that as soon as she was done injecting the overdose of anesthetic, it would be over. We all put a hand on Sheba. Her eyes glossed over and she laid her head on the ground. She looked tired. Her life hadn’t been the best, but she was finally going to sleep. She deserved the rest.

As the vet pushed down on the syringe, Sheba’s eyes grew heavier, her breathing slower. I watched as my dad held and rubbed her and I suddenly realized it was the way he used to hold me when I was a little kid. So full of love and affection. He started to sob. I put my hand on his shoulder. “It’s okay,” I said.

The vet finished the injection and checked Sheba’s heart rate. She whispered “It’s over.” We stayed there for a second. I’d never been around a dead body before, and it was hard to process. It seemed like if we just shook her or took out a treat, her eyes would open again. But death and time are irreversible, and we got up. We both gently touched her head and left.

When we got home, my dad lit a candle and said the Mourner’s Kaddish, as Jewish people do for the death of their loved ones. As he choked up on his words, I looked at him, really looked at him—and in that moment, he looked so old to me. My dad has had a hard life. Most everyone he’s ever been close to has died, and me—his only one son—and him have a really bad relationship. I know he loved my dog very much, almost like a third child, and this was one more thing, one more thing to make him feel more alone.

When he was done, I summoned up the courage and hugged him and told him I loved him. He seemed surprised and taken off-guard, and didn’t reply for a a second, like he had to process what I just said. But he told me he loved me too, and I heard him add at the end, a barely audible whisper—“Always.”

Sheba may have not had the best life for a dog with her personality and size. But like any life, there were moments she was really happy, and she died happy, or at least okay, surrounded by a brother and a father who loved her in the sometimes messed up ways that messed up people love.

But life goes on. Sheba’s death felt like the end of an era for me. She was the dog of my childhood, she grew up in the same house as me, and now it’s all over. I’m about to turn 20, I’ve moved out of my parent’s house, I’ve lost that anchor.

I don’t know if God or heaven exists, but I like to think that somewhere, Sheba is running in a field, with her legs and youth returned to her, her tail wagging once again, with unlimited peanut butter and treats everywhere. She’s never alone, and there are always people willing to play with her, pet her, tell her that they love her.

Even if there isn’t any afterlife, I know that Sheba’s in a better place, because she’s no longer suffering. She’s free. Life goes on, and we love in the ways we can, while we can, and learn for the future. Life goes on.

21 Reasons You And Your Roommate Should Probably Have Your Own Sitcom https://themerrydog.com/21-reasons-you-and-your-roommate-should-probably-have-your-own-sitcom/ Fri, 30 Jun 2017 06:11:12 +0000

1. You speak in unison unintentionally at least once a day.

2. You act out your stories and know the idiosyncrasies of how the other person is going to describe a situation.

3. And then you do impressions of each other by mimicking them while standing directly behind them…. Even when there’s no one else in the room to watch.

4. You remember what they did yesterday, what they had to eat and when because they recounted literally every detail of their day to you.

5. They are always a character in your stories, even if they weren’t there, because you always just assume they were.

6. Your banter is on another level. It’s a beautifully smooth give and take and it’s especially hilarious because you can anticipate what they’re going to say next.

7. When your roommate is gone for more than an hour, you cook up a crazy elaborate scheme of what they were probably doing and tell all of your friends how worried you are about your roommate. Then you find out that they were just stuck in traffic or at a doctor’s appointment.

8. When you come home and they ate dinner without you, you’re a sad puppy for the next 3 hours.

9. You have a friend, or another roommate, whose life serves as comic relief because they are always dating three people at once à la Barney Stinson, or are just generally a hot mess.

10. At least once you’ve heard them having sex and done something obnoxious. (If you’re looking to do this in future, a few suggestions are: Put a vibrator right outside their door. Start blasting “Play That Funky Music” and get all your other roommates and/or neighbors to sing along. For best mood-killing results, make sure your voice cracks on the high notes.)

11. You text each other while you’re in the same room about the other people in the room.

12. They need to screen your new boyfriend, girlfriend, friend and even the random coworker that you occasionally go to happy hour with.

13. You go on adventures. You plan them out meticulously beforehand only to have them go terribly wrong.

14. When there are other people in the room, you’ll signal to your roommate with elaborate hand gestures or eyebrow raises and it elicits an “OH MY GOD”-type reaction from them because they know exactly what it means and they need more details immediately.

15. You feel like you’re semi-cheating on your roommates if you hang out with someone else for the night. The next morning you talk about the night before as if the distance caused you pain and heartache, because it did.

16. You ALWAYS take their side even if they’re blatantly wrong

17. You and one of your roommates will go out of your way to fuck with another roommate or friend. You always think it’s going to end well, but it turns into a complete trainwreck halfway through.

18. Your apartment is filled with weird memorabilia that everyone else hates but that you’re both incredibly attached to.

19. You’re thinking of starting a sketch comedy group together. (Unless you live in LA, in which case you already have.)

20. You have their parents’ numbers in your phone and when you roommate comes home you go, “I chatted with your mom today. She says hi.” Sometimes you take pictures, or the occasionally selfie, just to send them to your roommate’s parents.

21. At least once a week you comment on how hilarious you guys are and how your lives should TOTALLY come with a laugh track.

The Consequences of Sequencing Healthy People https://themerrydog.com/the-consequences-of-sequencing-healthy-people/ Fri, 30 Jun 2017 05:08:55 +0000

Physicians are increasingly using patients’ genomic data to fight cancer or diagnose unexplained symptoms. But in individuals with no discernable signs of illness, it’s uncertain whether knowing their genomic blueprints is beneficial, and whether primary care physicians are up to the challenge of managing these data for their patients. In the first study of its kind to evaluate whole genome sequencing in a randomized fashion, published today (June 26) in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers report that although primary care physicians are capable of contending with genomic information, its value for healthy patients remains ambiguous.

“It comes down to the question: how many individuals do you wish to scare . . . in order to find that one individual that could be helped?” writes Harvard Medical School biomedical informatics professor Isaac Kohane in an email to The Scientist. He was not involved in the study but has previously collaborated with senior author Robert Green, a geneticist and physician at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “My own opinion is that if you are in good health, the clinical value is low and the risk is higher than most appreciate.”

Arizona State University law professor and law and genetics expert Gary Marchant holds a different view. In a larger population, “you will find in one or two percent of the people something that is significant and might be actionable. Personally, I think it’s a justification for doing it.”

See “Should Healthy People Have Their Exomes Sequenced?”

Biomedical ethicist and coauthor Amy McGuire, the director of the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy at Baylor College of Medicine, says she and her colleagues had questions about whether genome sequencing would cause anxiety or change people’s health care costs or clinical management. So as part of the MedSeq project, the researchers conducted the first study to empirically evaluate the utility of whole genome sequencing in a randomized, healthy population.

The research team recruited nine physicians who, in turn, recruited 10 or so patients each to participate in the study. Out of 100 healthy individuals between the ages of 40 and 65 years, 50 were randomly assigned to have their whole genomes sequenced in addition to receiving a family history report. The other 50 participants received a family history report alone. Physicians received an interpreted report of the patients’ sequencing results, and had to manage their cases.

“We set out to model what the future of genomic medicine might be in a general medicine setting,” says lead author and Harvard Medical School assistant professor Jason Vassy, also a clinician-investigator at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a primary care physician with Veterans Affairs Boston.

There are numerous genetic variants inaccurately labeled as disease-causing in genetic databases, the authors write in their report. In order to identify legitimate variants predicted to cause disease, patients’ data were painstakingly vetted from an initial list of about 5,000 disease-associated genes and 5 million genetic variants per patient. A clinical laboratory team filtered these down to 200-300 variants, after evaluating whether these genes had been previously reported as pathogenic and whether rarer variants would drastically impair the gene’s protein function. They then whittled this down even further to an average of two to three variants per patient by evaluating whether a variant had sufficient evidence to cause disease and whether the gene itself was associated with a particular disease, among other criteria. Weighing this information “to figure out what is clinically relevant is challenging” and requires a “fair amount of professional opinion,” says clinical genomicist Heidi Rehm, director of the laboratory for Molecular Medicine at Partners Healthcare who led the interpretation of genomes.

“We had two major, surprising findings,” says Vassy. First, his group found variants predictive of rare diseases in 11 out of the 50 patients, a “strikingly high number.” The second surprise was that nine of these patients didn’t show any signs of disease. “They were healthy individuals . . . 50 to 60 years old. In theory, many genetic diseases would have manifest by then.”

Vassy notes that one patient had a variant associated with pituitary disease yet no evidence of a hormone deficiency, and patients with variants associated with heart conditions who went on to have normal cardiac tests.

In the two patients with demonstrable signs of disease—one with a night vision-compromising eye condition called fundus albipunctatus and another with variegate porphyria, a skin condition that produces sunlight sensitivity and reactions to certain medications—now have an explanation for their symptoms. In addition, every sequenced individual had at least one recessive carrier gene linked to a certain condition, notes Marchant, which can be very useful for people planning on having children.

Eight out of these 11 cases were handled appropriately by their managing primary care physicians, as deemed by a panel of genetics experts who reviewed each case. From this small sample of doctors from an elite medical community, who received resources and support, it appears that “that there are ways to educate primary care physicians about whole genome sequencing,” says Yann Joly, research director of the Center of Genomics and Policy at McGill University.

However, “these conclusions are not well supported,” writes Kohane, as prior studies have shown that for tests that have been around for some time, like the BRCA1, the average primary care doctor and specialist is “neither comfortable nor competent” interpreting these results.

Although sequenced patients did not demonstrate increased psychological distress, they accrued, on average, $350 more in medical expenses than non-sequenced individuals. McGuire stresses “that the follow-up that was done was judged to be clinically appropriate,” and patients could save money in the long run for catching conditions earlier on with such testing.

While researchers found “nothing dramatic in terms of both the benefits and the risks,” Marchant says, life insurance is “one big negative.” Because “life, disability, and long-term care insurance can use this information, [patients] could be affected by or even discriminated against by [their] genetic test results.”

Overall, the lack of disease in the patients with predictive variants highlights a lack of understanding of penetrance—whether a genetic variant will manifest in disease in an individual, stress Vassy and Rehm. According to Vassy, it’s “misleading” to equate advances in big data and genomic tools with similar strides in understanding how genetic variants impact health.

15 Clever and Funny Ways to Wake Someone Up https://themerrydog.com/15-clever-and-funny-ways-to-wake-someone-up/ Tue, 25 Apr 2017 07:11:03 +0000

Well, snores do not count as a funny way to wake someone up (it doesn’t let you sleep in first place). But, poking slightly the nostrils of someone who snores with a pencil does count as a powerful trick.
When a short and sweet little ‘Good Morning!’ doesn’t suffice, you start wondering about other innovative ideas to wake someone up. This someone could be your partner, roommate, a friend, or your ‘grown-up but irresponsible’ kids.

Whoever he/she may be, sleep is next to heaven. We know and understand that. But, who would explain to these heavy-eyed individuals that they need to be awake at least for sometime to go back to that heavenly sleep. Better to let them realize it on their own, at their own ‘risk’. You have fun trying out these naughty and mischievous tricks.
Funny Wake Up Pranks

Numero Uno. The first and best way to startle someone from his/her deep sleep is by way of some harsh sounds. Any musical instrument that you don’t know how to play would do; just blow it loud. Remember, a trumpet cannot be surpassed by any other instrument here though. Another easily available option might be a whistle. Or if you know that you have the most inelastic vocal cords of all, simply start screaming in their ears.
Singing out loud the song they hate the most will also work (it’s your divine voice after all!) And, if you are relying on an alarm clock, then make sure that the snooze button does not work.

Surprise visits are still in fashion. Ringing the doorbell in the middle of the night, or somewhere around 5 am early morning is a wonderful plan. You must hold on to the bell for as long as that person actually gets up and opens the door. Also, keep on banging the door to scare him/her. Create a scene for him to be terrified. And on opening the door, tell him you have come to arrest him!
Beating Up
Friends are forever. So, it’s OK if you beat ’em up a little. Cuz, this way they sure would want to see, with wide open eyes, who is inflicting that pain upon them. This friendly prank would turn out to be a memorable one. If you feel that’s too much, try giving that friend a tight slap on the cheek, or a few light punches. Watch out for the retaliatory kicking though. You want to make sure all goes well thereafter.

Water is like the best weapon, simple but still very annoying. A bucket, a squirt gun, or a jar of cold water, either one of these is sufficient to give your sleeping beauty a shock of a lifetime. How about some ice to be carefully placed near that person’s neck (or even better inside his/her clothes).

Think like a child, and you will find yourself flooded with exceptional ideas to awaken the sleeping souls. Kids have plenty of noise-making toys. It is much easy to irritate your loved one with any toy animal drumming that repetitive beat, or something like a chimp banging the cymbals. The best part is that he/she would not know to shut it up. Here is a tip. Hide it at such a location that it would be difficult to find even when they are awake.
The Boss is Calling!
Another common prank played usually on friends. A phone call from the boss (also parents for that matter) with a seemingly-real dreaded cause can get rid of all snooze, even on a Sunday morning. You must try it once. Tell your friend that his/her boss is on the way, “as you haven’t answered a single call since the past two hours, and that the project is badly stuck because of you”. Hearing this, he/she wouldn’t be alert enough to remember what time of the day, or which day.

If you know ‘that’ someone to be a person who can be spooked easily, then get a creepy mask and don a scary Halloween costume. Enter the room where that person is sleeping and carry along with you some horrifying background music to create that eerie effect. But, please take care that you don’t scare someone who can’t handle it.

It’s six o’clock by the watch. A good time for some hard rock music. Or, would you prefer troubling ‘the quiet’ with the most annoying TV commercials. Entirely up to you, as you may have to pay for it later, by totally abstaining from some of your entertainment perks, you received as charity. If you are not that poorly dependent, no harm in blaring out some loud music, especially the highly detested numbers.
Playing paintball in the bedroom with fresh, juicy tomatoes from the kitchen is the dirtiest way to wake someone up. You know why. But, it is plain simple FUN. And, you could have some party poppers handy to add a good rhythm to the game. Don’t worry about the bed linen and covers once you are on your mission. “Of course, you should have thought of it before you attempted this spoilage”, is how it would generally sound later. So, think ‘how-many-ever-times’ you want before you do this.

For those of your acquaintances who love pets, you can just let their cute little canines and felines do the job. How sweet it is to get licked by your lovely puppy, and to get all the sleep from your eyelids washed away, literally!

Drawing on the face of the sleeping person with a marker or color pencil is an old but successful idea. Never miss an opportunity to face paint, particularly when the subject is as still as ‘still life’. Another alternative is to use toothpaste to draw a mustache; this is a quicker way to wake someone up due to the strong mint flavor that can be sniffed right away.

There is no dearth to one’s imagination if you can actually work around some technicalities and shift the entire bed to a distant location. If it sounds too adventurous, get a few helpers and try this. Tie up that person to the bed and start shaking the bed from all four sides. Don’t forget to shout out the words ‘Help’, ‘Save me’, ‘Please’, and so on… to create an earthquake-like environment. TIP: do plan for an escape before the dormant individual erupts to life like a fuming volcano!
When It Gets Cold
What we would never want anyone to do to us is, take off our blankets and put the fan on high speed, that too in winter. So, you know what to do now. Inhuman, but awakens those in deep slumber as quick as water.
Flavorful Scents
Waking up to something smelling delicious is a blessing to humans. This aroma therapy helps you to deceive someone and disturb their sleep. Either you really cook for them, the one delicacy that they love, or you can just use something like a cinnamon spray to make your house smell inviting. We suppose you will not choose the latter alternative with your spouse.

Tickling someone to wake them up is the cutest way of going about it. Tickles bring a cute smile to our face. It is the most peaceful of all ways listed here. Kids just love it. Although there are some who are literally “allergic” to this. You can target them the next time you see them sleep. They won’t just wake up, but would run a hundred meters away from you.

Or, some more ideas… like the ones your naughty mind must have wandered through, while reading these few.

Ideas for High School Pranks That are Funny and Unoffensive https://themerrydog.com/ideas-for-high-school-pranks-that-are-funny-and-unoffensive/ Tue, 25 Apr 2017 06:41:23 +0000

High school days may well be reckoned as the best days of one’s life! Those wonderful years of dreading the books and looking forward to the basketball games aptly illustrates the many sides of a high school life. Listening to music in the library, avoiding boring lectures, and burning the midnight oil completing homework and essays; all these incidents are a common story.

There are many mischievous lots that even spend hours or days planning all sorts of pranks to be played on classmates or even teachers for that matter. Hmm, quite an adventurous lot, I must say! Well, thinking of innovative ideas for high school pranks is like a religion for some! And for such pesky brats, I have a compilation of ideas for pranks that can be utilized to make everyone laugh!

4 (Harmless) Pranks to Try

◆ This is a prank that can help to pep up a dull day at school. Collect as many bouncing balls as you can and let them loose in the corridor. Of course, you better be prepared to do this before the students arrive. And then, make sure you fade into the background.

◆ Make simple signs such as ‘Push’ or ‘Pull’. This is something that can be done easily on the computer and print these words on separate sheets of paper. Tape these on the bathroom or classroom doors, near the doorknob. But ensure you stick them on the wrong side! Watch the fun as everyone struggles to open the door the right way.

◆ How good are you at disguising your voice? If you can manage to imitate the voice of your teachers, here’s a neat prank that will help you et some free breaks! If you get your hands on a telephone in the school, all you need to do is call up two teachers and disguise your voice to make it sound like the other person. Make your voice seem urgent and call both of them at one spot on the other side of the campus. When they meet, both will feel as if the other person had given a call. By the time they figure out the prank, you are bound to have plenty of free time in the class for some lovely gossip and silly games!

◆ If you manage to have access to the common rooms of all the class teachers, sneak in the room with some shoe polish when no one is around. Choose a relatively darker colored phone in the room that matches the shoe polish. Apply some on the lower side of the receiver and make sure you are around to watch the fun when the phone rings! (Do not get into the path of your teachers in that case!)

Use these pranks and watch the fun around you unfold. As long as no one is hurt in the bargain, a little bit of harmless fun can only gather a few laughs!

Funny and Rib-tickling Pranks to Play on Your Friend’s Car https://themerrydog.com/funny-and-rib-tickling-pranks-to-play-on-your-friends-car/ Tue, 25 Apr 2017 05:42:33 +0000

You can play these pranks with a good, harmless intent. Try playing the ones mentioned below on your friend’s car and have fun!

Cruelty to Animals

At the rear bumper of your friend’s car, attach a leash. When he drives around with the leash attached, people will definitely think that he’s cruel and ties his pet to the bumper and has forgotten to take it off.

Wrong Keys

If you happen to be with a group of friends who have the same car, for example, both have a Ford, switch their car keys stealthily. There is a possibility that the keys of the same car model will look identical. Enjoy the fun when he isn’t able to plug-in the keys.

Pop a Balloon

This is definitely the most weird and funny prank idea, that you can try on your friend. Take up a large unfilled balloon and tie it over the whole of the exhaust pipe. After driving through a few meters, he’ll hear a big POP! He surely will be surprised as to what has happened and you can laugh your heart out.

Tea Cup

Get a magnet and tape it under a tea cup. Put that cup on the top of the car, when you are seeing off your friend. When he drives away, it will look like as if he forgot to grab his cup off. People will try to get his attention and stop him, leaving him perplexed.

Jack the Car

Jack up your friend’s car just barely above the ground, but, not that high that it gets noticed. Your friend will be awestruck, thinking in bewilderment, “Why the heck, the car isn’t moving!!”

Broken Glass

This harmless prank will give an adrenalin rise to your friend. You don’t actually have to break his car’s window glass. Get an empty glass bottle, break it and throw the pieces outside the car as well as inside the car and roll down the window glass. Then call your friend and say somebody attacked, while you were inside the car. It will surely frighten him. You can also opt for a fake car scratch sticker.

The above mentioned ideas are some good pranks that you can play on your friends and watch the fun. They are absolutely harmless, yet, rib-tickling!

Head trauma in the funny pages https://themerrydog.com/head-trauma-in-the-funny-pages/ Sat, 22 Apr 2017 12:19:10 +0000

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is no laughing matter. Unless you’re an indomitable Gaul, that is. In the best-selling Asterix comic books, Asterix, Obelix, and their compatriots, fuelled by magic potion, dish out blows to the heads of Romans, pirates and even extraterrestrials. Perhaps not surprisingly (it is a comic book), the victims of these severe assaults appear to suffer no long term ill effects.Marcel Kamp and colleagues at Heinrich-Heine-University in Düsseldorf cataloged over 700 head injuries in Asterix comic books, analyzing their epidemiology and risk factors. In a recently published paper the researchers report that the major cause of head injury was assault, they say, perpetrated in the vast majority of cases by Gauls—more than half by either Asterix or Obelix. Only 4.5 percent of all head injuries were caused by Romans.Kamp and colleagues used the same methods to analyze the comic books as they would use on real patient populations. In real life, TBI is a leading cause of death in children and young adults today. Common causes of TBI include falls, motor vehicle crashes, assault, and sports or firearm injuries. The ethnicity of TBI victims is also an important risk factor: like the Romans in Asterix, black people are more likely to suffer TBIs than whites in Johannesburg, South Africa, the Bronx and the United States in general. Kamp doesn’t, however, think we can learn too many lessons from the study. “It’s not just a joke,” he says, “it’s something in between.”
20 Funny Comics That Nail The Disappointing Beauty Of Relationships. https://themerrydog.com/20-funny-comics-that-nail-the-disappointing-beauty-of-relationships/ Tue, 28 Feb 2017 12:31:15 +0000

Finding a person you click with might be the easiest part of a relationship. It’s all the baggage that that each individual carries with them that can often break a relationship up. But as long as you are both in it for the long run, willing to work through anything that can negatively impact your love, your chances of survival are pretty good.

Graphic artists have the magical touch of highlighting how complex people can be. Unless you get to observe from the outside, it’s hard to recognize your own issues and quirks. Good thing these illustrators have brought in full colour the ups and downs of being in love.

That moment he realizes she is not to be crossed, particularly in front of another pretty woman.

Explaining yourself and what you will and will not in the relationship is key. Even if the pledge is morbid.

When assets are being used for a specific purpose in the relationship. At least they both have motives.

Don’t trust old sayings, they mean nothing. Trust your heart and your gut, and just go for it!

You don’t need to plan anything elaborate to enjoy each other’s company. Know what works for the two of you.

When she didn’t give up on you despite your awkwardness stage well into early adulthood.

When you work out hard to have strong, muscular arms. You are just asking for her to nibble or bite hard.

When he is 100 percent honest with you, even if the answer is not what your heart and mind wanted to hear.

It’s a good thing Jackie understood JHall awkwardness and let him evolved into a better version of himself.

We may have technology at our fingertips but that doesn’t mean men and women know how to communicate the same way.

When trying to incorporate someone’s culture in the relationship is totally irrelevant and insulting.

It’s often said that it’s a fine line between love and hate. What’s worse than hate is apathy.

Looking at things from a different vantage point can sometimes help to understand that the relationship is not as bad as you think.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but that doesn’t mean you don’t know when your lover is desired by others.

It doesn’t matter what you are doing, if he’s a boob man, he will always gravitate to that part of your body.

It’s your favourite movie, not hers. Just enjoy the fact she is sitting or lying beside you.

What’s yours belongs to the two of you. What is hers, is hers. Need any more explanation?

Because sometimes being mischievous is worth all the trouble you are going to get into later.

Some men’s obsession with breasts get out of hand. You begin to wonder if the romance is with the person or the bosom.

Her idea of sweating it out are completely different from his. Although, her version will make them both healthier and strong.

Parenting Without Technology: How The Hell Did They Do It? https://themerrydog.com/parenting-without-technology-how-the-hell-did-they-do-it/ Fri, 20 Jan 2017 09:24:06 +0000

As delightful as parenting can be (stay with me here), as rewarding a journey, as enjoyable an experience, there are downsides.

Shocking, I know. Who’d have thought that dedicating the lion’s share of your life to preparing other, dumber, younger people to live their own lives would occasionally be a drag? Well, I hate to break it to you, but it is. Not all the time, but a fair amount of the time. Maybe even more than it isn’t. Of course, the peaks always outperform the valleys, and even if there are fewer of them, they still matter more and linger longer.

The key is surviving the valleys. And that’s not always easy. But you know what? It’s easier now than ever before! Because technology.

Even if you disagree with me and you think parenting is a nonstop cavalcade of joyous innocence, blissful memories, and perspective-shifting epiphanies, you can at least admit this: parenting can be boring.

When your kids are babies or toddlers, your time is occupied just keeping them alive, clean, and fed.

There is simply no way to keep your kids occupied and stimulated and happy all the time, and even if there were, there would be no way you could do that without wanting to hang yourself. Because the things kids love to do? Aren’t the things adults love to do. Sure, there’s some overlap. I love spending time with my two sons, building pillow forts, playing with Lego, chasing each other around the den. But not only does that stuff tire my adult body out — it gets old fast.

Sometimes I need a break. Maybe just to recharge; maybe to do some housework or pay some bills; maybe to do some actual work that I couldn’t get to at the office; maybe just to have some adult time. You don’t know my life, get off me! In those situations, you know what I do? Give my kid my phone, or the tablet, or throw on Netflix, and buy myself a half an hour or two. It’s not only a life-saver, it’s a necessity.

I don’t know how my parents did it. Or how their parents did it. (I do know how my parents’ parents’ parents did it though: They sent the kids out to harvest the crops, or to their shift at the factory.) Keeping kids occupied is a full-time gig. To wit: I’m typing this just moments after my son whined “I’m bored!” at 9:24 a.m. on his first day of summer break. Interacting with them is essential and fun, but there’s nothing wrong with bowing out once in a while to handle your own business. And all the gadgets we have at our disposal make that easier than ever.

Yes, there are some problematic aspects and ramifications related to relying too much on technology to occupy our kids (and ourselves), but there are also benefits — for both of us. When used in moderation, technology is essential and nourishing. And not only are their countless teaching apps and games for them to use, if you think knowing how to use technology isn’t going to continue to be an essential skill as they grow up, you’re insane.

Maybe you think that’s a rationalization, and if I were someone who let my iPad babysit my 5-year-old, I might agree with you. But I don’t. I limit his screen time, and I will continue to. But sometimes I’ll let him indulge, especially if it’s convenient for me.

I’d rather my rambunctious, clingy 5-year-old take my phone, play a game for a little while, and grant me a modicum of time to myself than find myself stressed and snapping at him merely for having too much energy for me to handle.

I’m simply not ashamed of occasionally needing a breather from my children, and nothing allows me to do that like a little technology.