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FAMILY NOTEBOOK

Oh #!$%@ Tannenbaum

Let us be the first to wish you happy holidays and remind you how incredibly dangerous your basic Christmas tree can be.

If you got yours this weekend and plan on struggling it into its little stand some night this week, may we suggest:

Place the stand on a table and adjust it until its base is completely level, thereby minimizing chances for a tree topple-over.

Check your light strings for a tag reading "UL," which means Underwriters' Laboratories has OK'd them. No tag? Shuck those strings of bulbs and get new ones.

Dogs, cats and people as high as your knee don't get the joke of ornaments that look like food. Either put it way high up, or skip it entirely.

Talkin' to this g-g-generation

The National Communication Association asked more than 1,000 parents about talking to their offspring, and when it came to the Big Three -- sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll -- drugs were the only subject they felt comfortable discussing.

Pills? Tobacco? Racism? Not too tough to hold forth on, most parents said. But today's rock 'n' roll, or sex? Barely half the parents felt they could find the right words.

"The generation gap is alive and well," says James Gaudino, director of the National Communication Association, who believes that parents should urge schools to work harder on teaching communication skills.

Speaking of which . . .

The Life Transitions Center is holding another one of those cool workshops where you go in, grab some coffee and learn how to deal with the emotional quagmire that is your life.

And look what this next workshop is on! "Talking About the Tough Stuff: Death, Loss, Sex, Drugs, Relationships." It will be held Dec. 10 at the Center for Hospice and Palliative Care, 225 Como Park Blvd., Cheektowaga. The fee is $10. For information, call the center at 836-6460.

Would Brando do this?

Doubtful. But this is the '90s, and apparently scrawling on a plain white T-shirt with washable markers simply isn't done anymore.

What is? Booting up your computer in order to do your kids' T-shirts for field day or parties. Introducing the Hanes T-ShirtMaker ($50), which includes software with thousands of designs, peelable transfer paper (that's how it gets on the T) and a humongous free T-shirt so you can practice.

Even nicer, you can screw up as many as six times a year and they'll send you more designs and T-shirts, free.

By News Staff Reporter Lauri Githens, compiled from wire services and other sources.

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