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Are educators robbing today's kids of science room humor?
Are educators robbing today's kids of science room humor?

How do you pronounce "Uranus?"

Long ago, in a Milwaukee public school far, far away, I learned that the seventh planet from the sun was pronounced "Your-anus." And the jokes have transpired ever since.

I’ve noticed, however, that my kids pronounce it "Yer-a-ness." They have a Leapster game that teaches them about the planets, and the computerized voice says it this way, too, leaving the "anus" out of Uranus.

So, which way is correct? And did "they" change to a more polite pronunciation of the planet over the years? First Pluto’s not a planet and now this? I can’t keep up.

Yum or yuck?
Yum or yuck?

The freakiest food I'll ever eat

Some folks at LiveJournal came up with this food and they claim it's a great, kid-friendly edible. Personally, I'm horrified -- yet oddly fascinated -- by this combination of hot dogs oozing spaghetti, Play-Doh Fun Factory style.

To make, stab uncooked spaghetti into the hot dog, then boil. I think I have to make this, perhaps with wheat pasta and soy dogs to healthy up the meal. Granted, it's pretty gross, but I really like the way the inventors of this nasty nosh-able think.

I wonder if the creators have an official name for this hybrid yet, like Hairy Hotdogs or Spag Dog?

"Nice to meet you. I'm adopted."

My kid has gone through some interesting phases. For a while, he only wanted turkey dogs for breakfast. Then he added "mi olde" to everything, like "Mom, where’s mi olde soccer ball?" And recently, he started greeting people he’s meeting for the first time with, "I’m Kai. I’m adopted."

Yesterday, a nurse stopped by our house to take our blood and urine for a new insurance policy, and Kai met her at the door with, "I’m Kai. I’m adopted, so I wasn’t born."

("Kai," my husband said. "Everyone was born.")

People really don’t know how to respond to my son’s new greeting. They usually get a slightly soft, concerned look on their face in recognition that even the healthiest adoption still symbolizes loss.

However, my husband and I know our son is proud of being adopted, and that is why he tells people this tidbit of personal info right off the bat. We know that at some point he will most likely struggle with the absence of his birth parents, but for now, he thinks it’s pretty cool. And so do we.

Happy birthday, Bill.
Happy birthday, Bill.

"Talk Like Shakespeare Day?" Oy vey

This sounds like a spoof article might write for April Fool’s Day, but it’s for reals, kids.

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley declared Thursday to be "Talk Like Shakespeare Day" in honor of the great playwright's 445th birthday. Although Shakespeare’s birthday is not known for sure, many scholars believe it was April 23, 1564.

Daley plans to use snippets of 16th century vernacular on Thursday -- from "prithee" to "fie!" -- and encouraged the rest of the country to join him in the folly. Shakespeare contributed 1,400 words and phrases to the English language, so there are plenty to choose from.

The Chicago Shakespeare Theater created a special Web site to honor the bard and to provide vocabulary for anyone whose college Shakespeare class memories are now a bit fuzzy. The site encourages visitors to contribute their finest "Shakespearience" or to message a modern phrase to "ShakespeareSays" on Twitter and the group will post what the expression would have sounded like 400-plus years ago.

As my friend Laura put it, "Methinks ‘twill be more fun than ‘Talk Like A Pirate Day.’" Personally, I’m not so sure, but I hate to come off as a big ol’ canker blossom.