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Updated: 2014-10-03T01:18:03.260-04:00


Fire tornado (Amazing Photo)


Mole Breakfast


Once upon a time there lived a mama mole, a papa mole, and a baby mole, all living in a quaint little mole hole outside of a farm house in the country.

One morning Papa Mole poked his head out of the hole, inhaled deeply and sighed, “Mmmmm, I smell sausage.”

At that, Mama Mole poked her little head outside of the hole, sniffed loudly, and remarked, “Mmmmmm, I smell pancakes.”

Baby Mole tried to push his head outside the hole too, but was completely blocked out by his parents, who were much larger than he. Sulky, Baby Mole sat back down and pouted, “Phooey! All I can smell is molasses!”

Desiree Dolron


His crew? Ew!


You adore your guy, but not his pals? Here are a few ways to keep it together around his friends — even when you'd rather run the other way

You've snagged a major hottie. And he's sweet as strawberry lip gloss. He always sends a "good morning" text and would rather spend his free time chatting with you than playing his Wii. There's only one problem. You don't exactly dig his buds. Your BF may be all romance and coolness, but his friends are more caveboy. What can you do when you are totally crushin' on him but think his pals are the pits?


So his friend Nathan is slightly obsessed with NASCAR and his pal Jacob is only interested in gross bodily functions, but have you ever tried to really get to know them? Your BF picked them and he thinks they rock — and he's pretty cool, right? So, his boys probably have a few redeeming qualities. Give 'em a chance.

Spend some time with your guy's crew. Get some of your own buds together, and suggest a group date. Or go with your BF to see Nathan's basketball semi-final game (see, he's not all NASCAR). Your boyfriend will appreciate you for it and — who knows? — you might find out they're not so bad.


It's a fact of nature that boys aren't as in tune with the whole romance thing as girls are. Your guy is clearly into you, but his friends might still be stuck in the nogo zone when it comes to dating. Maybe they've never had girlfriends, so they just don't understand why their bud would rather go to the mall with you than shoot hoops with them. Take it in stride, keeping in mind that your BF's friends will catch up. Eventually.


Keep things in perspective. If your guy's pals are only a little annoying, blow it off. Nobody's perfect, and (yikes!) your guy might feel the same way about your friends. Dating is about compromise. Sometimes, you need to bend a little. Your relationship will be stronger for it. If what's really buggin' you is how your BF treats you around his friends, take a step back. Is he a little more aloof or less likely to engage in any PDA around the guys? Just keeping it cool around his dudes is normal. He doesn't want to spark any teasing. But if your BF is seriously rude or puts you down in front of his pals, that's no laughing matter. A BF should never embarrass you or be cruel. You deserve respect. If he's not givin' it to you, move on.


Your guy is completely into you? That's great, but don't think it gives you power to dole out ultimatums. If you force him to choose between spending time with you and hanging out with them, it'll probably take him about a nanosecond to make the decision. And, trust us, you aren't going to like the answer.

And even if he were to stick it out with you, he'd ultimately resent you for alienating him from his boys. Bottom line? It's never a good idea to throw your guy that kind of a challenge.


All in all, be accepting. If your guy's friends grate on you, take it in stride. As long as your BF treats you well, you've scored big. Accept him for who he is…and who his friends are. Hang with them in limited doses, and don't point out their flaws. Hello! You wouldn't let him rag on your friends, right?

By Renee Hagar

Eugenio Recuenco


Bo Bandit and the Steel Driving Man


Retold by Bethany HegedusAlthough i was no bigger than a sack of flour, I set my sights on working for the C & 0 Railroad. I crouched beneath the wheels of a wagon, scoping things out, when a shadow spread over me, blocking out the noonday sun.Standing a dozen feet away was a man as big as a mountain. His shoulders were the size of two mighty boulders. His arms bulged thick as tree trunks. A hammer hung at his side, black and solid like the night."Excuse me, mister. Who's in charge here?" I asked, getting up my gumption."Cap'n's in there." The man pointed to a makeshift office. His voice wasn't thunderous like I thought it'd be. It poured outta him like lemonade from a pitcher, slow and easy. "What you want with him?""Looking for work. My daddy's taken ill. Bringing in some pay would sure help matters." I stuck out my hand. "Name's Bo Bandit, from down in Virginie. What's yours?""John," the man said with a grin. "John Henry. I'm from Virginie, too."So that's how I came to find John Henry was sure enough muscle and bone and not some tall tale told round campfires. I'd heard his name as I made my way from the fields of North Carolinie to the Chesapeake Bay. Rumors and hearsay traveled faster than spit jumps on a griddle."John Henry can do the work a four men and still not need but an hour's worth a rest.""That hammer of his is darn near the size of a hog's head."And the one I heard time and time again: "Believe you me, that John Henry's got a steel hammer at the center of his chest. He ain't got no heart, none a'tall."And here I was face to face with the man himself."Tell Cap'n you're a friend of mine." He grinned. "He'll put you to work."Cap'n was 'bout to show my behind the door when I piped up, "John Henry sent me."Cap'n stamped out his cigar. "Did he, now? You're too scrawny to be working the steel driving line. Cook just lost a man. You could fill his spot. No sneaking, vittles, got that?""Yes, sir." I tipped my hat, happy to have me a job.The next morning, I slogged helping after helping of grits into the bowls of the growling men. John was the only one to smile and say "thankey" 'fore filling his hurgsry belly."Where are they setting off to?" I asked Cook while the men bustled about."Headed to the work site, over yonder. The steel drivers and the shakers are cutting a hole in that mountain there for the railroad to go through." Cook shook a pot over the fiery embers. "We got our own work to do. These plates ain't going to scrub themselves."That evening, long past dusk, the men returned to camp. When I finished serving vittles and washing dishes, I set off to find John. I found him whittling, set off a piece from the men, who raised their voices in song.I plunked down beside him. "Whatcha carving?""A heart for the lady I left behind.""That so." I rubbed my hands together. John wasn't right talkative, but I had a feeling he liked me fine. Might as well ask what was really on my mind. "Heard it said you don't need no sleep and that you ain't got no…""Hear a lot of rumors working on the rails. Ain't many of 'em true." John smiled and let out a low whistle. "Except the one 'bout my belly being as deep as Big Bend Tunnel will be wide. That one's a fact."Each week I sent Mama my pay. The days went along dandy, until one afternoon when a crowd gathered as a man barked from the platform, "This here steam drill can outlast, outblast any man. It can chop rock like a hot knife slides through butter." Cap'n hung back until the crowd dispersed, then chatted with the traveling salesman."Listen here," said Cap'n that evening over the hum of hungry men. "Jim, Hank, and Cole: Go on home. C & O Railroad won't be needing your services anymore. Today I bought me a steam drill, a fancy new contraption that can do the work of three of ya."Shouts of "Hold up. Nawww," laced with grumbles, erupted from the workers as the three men called got to their feet."Ain't fair. We' re good workers," said Hank. [...]

Animal Athletes


Many people are good athletes, but how do we compare to animals?

Who's the fastest runner?

A cheetah. It can run up to 70 miles per hour—faster than a car speeding on a highway. The fastest human runners aren't even half that fast, reaching only about 25 miles per hour, slower than a car cruising down a city side street.

Who can jump the farthest?

People can jump pretty far. The record is almost 30 feet. That's farther than the length of five men. Only a few animals can beat that. Kangaroos can cover 40 feet in one leap, but the best jumpers for their size are fleas. They can jump more than 150 times their own length.

Keeping Cool in Summer!


When I came to this country, a classmate asked me where I was from. I answered, "India."He said, "Cool!"My response was, "Not really; it's pretty hot where I come from."So, how did we keep our cool, especially in those summer months, when the temperature soared to 110° F. or more?We did not rely on "Big Gulps." Mostly, we drank lots of water. The city was dotted with dozens of roadside pyaus, free, drinking water stations. Water was kept cool naturally in big, earthen pots made by local potters. The pyaus were operated by religious or civic organizations. We also had many water coolers.When someone dropped in for whatever reason, we always offered them a glass of cold water. Hot tea or something cold would be next in line.Homemade, cool drinks in a dozen different flavors (not all sweet) were the norm during the hot season. Because the heat made one sweat a lot, a bit of salt was also added to some cold drinks. A lightly-salted, thin buttermilk drink (flavored with cumin) was commonly served at community feasts or gatherings.Lassi (similar to the Western smoothie) was probably the favorite drink for us kids. It could be made with the pulp of fresh, ripe mangos, bananas or other juicy, tropical fruits. If none was available, yogurt was used. The flavor was enhanced with sugar, salt, rose water or cardamom.Another favorite, cool drink was fresh sugarcane juice. From March until August, there were scores of special corner stores set up in every city and town to serve sugarcane juice. They used hand-cranked or electric juicers (or, even cow-powered ones in rural areas) to squeeze the sugar cane right in front of you so you knew it was "fresh" and not watered down. We would also squeeze a bit of lemon and sprinkle a special spice mix to flavor the juice. Often, friends and family "went out" to drink this refreshing, healthy and inexpensive drink on summer evenings. The shops stayed open until 10 p.m., or even later.In coastal areas, the most common cold drink is coconut milk. The seller skillfully uses a machete to cut open the end of a green coconut and inserts a straw in the hole. There you have it: a naturally bottled tasty drink! After sipping this fresh energy drink, you can ask the seller to scoop out the soft coconut meat from the inside of the shell for you to eat.In our region of India, yet another common cold drink is panha. To make it, you boil a few green, raw mangos for a few minutes and let them cool off naturally for a while. Hand-squeeze the pulp out of the now soft mangos. Add cold water and a touch of salt and sugar (and ice cubes, if available) and mix thoroughly before serving. Besides mangos, tamarind, kauth (the sweet and sour fruit of the Bel tree) and several other tropical fruits were also used to concoct such a cold drink at home. No wonder we never missed any of the bottled soda pop that one can buy these days. Bottled soda or juices were exceptions then, but now they're being pushed in the market.During my travels in Mexico and Central America, I came across similar drinks in their mercados (markets). Licuados (smoothies) made with available fruit — papaya, piña, mango, banana, fresas, and mamé, jugo de zanahoria, naranjas, or agua de sandía ó limón for example, offer a variety of refrescos for the thirsty.And, what do we get in our supermarkets, vending machines and corner stores these days? Bottled cold drinks with artificial flavors, artificial colors (like Red #40, Blue #1), high fructose corn syrup, modified food starch, sodium benzoate, glycerol ester of wood rosin, brominated vegetable oil, caffeine… Does that sound like a healthy, tasty treat? No wonder when I see the ingredient lists of soft drinks sold in the stores, I turn my nose. I worry about their impact on the health of people who buy these drinks often. If you are concerned about this, try to avoid foods or drinks with any artificial[...]

Just Like Mom Not!


You love your mom, big-time. It's a huge, honkin' bummer, though, when she has one idea about how you oughta cruise around that big roller rink called life and you have another. When Mom makes decisions for you, tries to live through you or forces you to be her Mini-Me, you feel beyond icky — and that's natural!Worried the situation is outta your control? Not so, sistah! There's tons you can do to make it better. When you and Mom don't see eye to eye, it's about using your smarts and strengths to help her understand and respect your wants and needs.PRESSURED MUCH?THE MAMA DRAMA Your mom never got the chance to go to college — so she's decided you've gotta get into Harvard. She watches your grades like a hawk (nothing but a straight-A flush makes her happy), is constantly on your back about advanced placement classes and double-checks your homework. You're so stressed you feel like a balloon about to pop.YOUR STRATEGY First off, see it from her view. It must have really hurt her back in the day when her college dreams got dashed. No doubt, she wants you to have an amazing future. Still, you are under no obligation to live the life she wishes she had — you've got to live the life that's right for you.The best move? Sit down with Mom, and let her know you see where she is coming from. Then, explain that her non-stop riding you about school is force-feeding you a giant stress sandwich. Let her know you need a breather — after all, you've got a little time before you need to think seriously about what you want to do about college. The key is to be totally upfront about what you want to do — or don't want to do. Honesty between you and your mom will definitely make you closer.WALK THIS WAY…THE MAMA DRAMA Your mom was an amazing dancer when she was young but, hey, ballet isn't your bag. If you have to do one more pirouette, you're gonna scream. Still, Mom won't let you swap lessons for softball camp, which you're dying to play.YOUR STRATEGY Know that your mom is probably pushin' the pink toe shoes on you because she wants you to experience something she really loves — and hopes you'll love just as much. It's like the first time you read a Harry Potter book. You just couldn't wait to tell your BFF she had to get a copy, right?Still, it's not fair for your mom to expect you to groove on something just because she did. You might feel guilty that you don't dig dance like Mom wishes you would — after all, you don't want to disappoint her. But a huge part of growing up and becoming your own person is knowing your likes and dislikes — and not being afraid to do what you really love.Explain to Mom that you love softball as much as she loves ballet. Ask her to think about how troubling it would have been if her 'rents hadn't let her dance and tried to make her do an activity she wasn't feelin'. If you present your case in a calm, so-not-freakin'-out-or-whining way, Mom will be impressed with how mature you are.CHOOSE OR LOSETHE MAMA DRAMA Your mom tries to make all of your decisions for you — and we mean all of 'em. Did you pick out the pink dress you're wearing to Spring Fling? Nope, she did. Did you get to decide how to spend your stash of birthday cash? Nope, she popped it right into your savings account. Heck, she even tries to order for you in restaurants. And if you try to assert yourself, a huge fight happens. Ugh.YOUR STRATEGY In your mom's mind, she's trying to spare you problems by calling all the shots. She doesn't want you to make a flub that'll cause you grief — major or minor. But the truth is, she isn't doing you any favors in the long run. You learn responsibility through missteps, and figuring out how not to rewind and repeat them.Sit down with your mom in a totally stress-free spot (not at the mall while you're shopping or out to eat, please) and tell her that, although you apprecia[...]

Just the Facts


Indicate the answer that best completes each statement or answers each question by writing A, B, or C in the blank.

1. Approximately how many children work in India? (A) 12,000, (B) 120,000, (C) 12.6 million

2. India (A) has the world's fastest-growing economy, (B) ranks last on the United Nations Human Development Index, (C) has the world's highest concentration of poor people.

3. What 1938 US. law banned children under 16 from working in hazardous jobs? (A) Family and Medical Leave Act, (B) Fair Labor Standards Act. (C) Occupational Safety and Health Administration Act

4. Title IX protects public school students and employees from (A) gender discrimination. (B) overcrowded classrooms, (C) racial discrimination.

5. Supporters of single-sex schools say they (A) don't prepare kids for the real world, (B) help kids focus more on schoolwork, (C) develop interpersonal skills.

Current Events

Unicorns On Octavion


By O'Neil De NouxAlong the farthest reaches of the Milky Way hovered a sun-kissed planet of brightly colored oceans, vast forests, and plateaus that stretched as far as the eye could see. When humans first came to Octavion, they were amazed, like children in a toy store, and named all the places for their vivid colors: the Sapphire Sea, the Copper Plateau, the Indigo Forest.Many people settled on Octavion, bringing with them their machines and computers, their ideas and books, even their plants and animals. Soon the inevitable clash of worlds began, and Earth's creatures--cows, horses, cats, dogs, and fish--edged aside Octavion's native species. After thirty years and a million human inhabitants, the Indigenous Creatures Act was passed to protect Octavion's wildlife. No longer could anyone import creatures from other planets.One summer evening, as the huge Octavion sun hung just above the horizon, a twelve-year-old girl named Dana learned what the Indigenous Creatures Act was all about.Sitting on a bench beneath a towering spearmint tree, Dana spied a movement beyond the low stone wall at the edge of the campgrounds. Something stepped up from the Charcoal Plain. The waning sunlight glimmered on its silver horn, and its golden mane flowed in the warm breeze. Dana knew it was a unicorn, and her heart beat furiously. The unicorn poked its nose over the wall and nibbled the coral leaves of the bush just inside.Dana sat frozen, afraid to blink, and gazed at the graceful creature. It ate every leaf it could reach before turning and moving away. Crouching, Dana hurried to the wall and watched the unicorn disappear into the growing darkness.The bell rang. Suppertime at Mrs. Miniver's Summer Camp for Girls. Dana hurried to the dining hall, the last to arrive. Her heart thumped with her secret safely inside.Her friend Joanie ran up to her. "Dana, where have you been?""Reading," Dana answered."Reading at summer camp? What fun is that?" Joanie said. During supper, Joanie talked about sports and her friends back home. Dana only half listened, thinking about the unicorn. She imagined it racing between the dark gray rocks of the Charcoal Plain, rearing on its hind legs and snorting, then scratching the ground with its front hoofs before stepping over to let Dana pet it.Tomorrow, she thought. Tomorrow I'll gather as many leaves as I can. Then I'll pile them on top of the wall and wait.The next day, all the campers went swimming at Lake Robin. While Joanie splashed and laughed with the other girls, Dana sat with Mrs. Miniver, who told her that the lake water matched the color of a robin's egg. Dana had never seen this kind of egg, nor a robin for that matter.Dana and her big brother, Vincent, had been born on Octavion. Their mom and dad had come from Earth, and they'd often said how lucky Dana and Vincent were to live on a planet without pollution. Like most native Octavions, Dana had seen many things from Earth, like unicorns, only in photographs-until the previous evening. But it wasn't even a photo of a unicorn she'd seen before--it was a drawing. And Vincent had said that unicorns didn't exist.Turning to Mrs. Miniver, Dana asked what she knew about unicorns."There are no unicorns," Mrs. Miniver said. "There never were, not even on Earth. They are mythical creatures, like mermaids and fairies."Joanie splashed water on two other girls, who screamed. Dana closed her eyes and imagined mythical creatures, mermaids and unicorns, splashing together in the shallow end of Lake Robin. A spray of water in the face, from a giggling Joanie, brought Dana out of her daydream."Come swim with us!" Joanie said.With a sigh, Dana walked into the pale blue waters of the lake.That evening, Dana was putting coral leaves on the wall for the unicorn when Joanie came looking for her. "What [...]