'Text Speak' Takeover

Ever look in your kid's text message inbox and think, "Is that English?" The answer: kind of — it's "text speak." These abbreviations are used in text messages to represent words or phrases in order to take up less space in the character-restricted text window.

Now, New Zealand high schools students will be able to use this 'text speak' in national exams. Some parents and teachers are worried that allowing the use of 'text speak' in schools could damage the English language. New Zealand's Qualifications Authority said it, "Strongly discourages students from using anything anther than full English" on exams, however, credit will be given to students if their answer "clearly shows the required understanding." If students do decide to use these abbreviations, they better hope the people grading the exams speak fluent "text."

Official Elected After His Death

Talk about bad communication! A candidate for a county board in Monroe, North Carolina, was elected by a landslide, too bad he wasn't able to see his own victory. Sam Duncan passed away a full month before the elections were held, yet somehow people working in Duncan's campaign party claimed they didn't know of his death. Ads still ran as usual and voters weren't told.

County officials said they knew about the passing of Sam Duncan and explain the reasoning behind keeping quiet, "We are instructed that it's not our job to do that." Well, if it's not the election office's job then whose job was it?

Holiday Travel Tips

Will you be traveling this holiday season? If staying home isn't on your itinerary, consider some of these headache-avoiding travel tips from Earthlink.net:

— Make sure your travel agent is legit: It's always a good idea to make sure the person assisting you in your travel planning is qualified to do so. Every state requires travel agents to be registered to insure they are adhering to the state's specific laws, regulations, licensing and bonding of sellers if travel.

— Buy with credit cards: Buy travel arrangements with your credit card rather than cash or debit card so that you can request a "chargeback" (refund) in case the travel arrangements fall through.

— Look into restitution funds: These funds are on a state-by-state basis, and they compensate consumers who bought travel arrangements from travel services that did not deliver what they promised.

— Travel Protection Plans: These plans allow travelers to insure anything from the purchase of the travel arrangements, to medical evaluation and treatment, to cancellations.

— Study up on TAS regulations: Before you pack your bags, make sure you are familiar with the "prohibited items" list for the method of travel you are using. Whether you are flying or taking the bus or train, travel providers often have restricted items lists that travelers must obey. To save time and trouble, call your travel service ahead of time and cross check your packing list, with their banned item list.

— Carry-on: To avoid a missing bag or broken items, consider carrying on your luggage. Getting a reply concerning your mishandled baggage claim is almost next to impossible these days, so if you risked packing something important in your checked luggage and your bag got lost, you can pretty much kiss that item (and any reimbursement for it) goodbye.

— Invoke Rule 240: This is the airline's delay-and-cancellation policy. If the delay/cancellation is the airline's fault, they must make every effort to book you on the next flight available with NO EXTRA CHARGE, even if this means putting you on a competitor's plane.

— Know your "bump" rights: The Department of Transportation requires each airline to give passengers who were "bumped" a written statement of their rights which contains the airline's policy on overbooked flights. If you do end up getting bumped, make sure you ask for this statement in writing so you can review your options.

Green Bean Casserole Recipe

Finally, as Thanksgiving rapidly approaches, thought I would share with you a dish that is always a hit at my house! Here is my version — you can find the full recipe at: www.campbellkitchen.com

You'll Need:
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
½ cup milk
1 tsp. soy sauce
Dash ground pepper
4 cups cooked cut green beans
1 1/3 cups fried onions

Directions:
Mix soup, milk, soy, black pepper and 2/3 cup fried onions in a 1 ½ qt. casserole.
Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes or until hot
Stir and sprinkle with the remaining fried onions and bake 5 minutes.

E.D.

E.D. Hill anchors "FOX News Live" weekdays from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET. Send your comments to e.d.hill@foxnews.com.