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Carol H Tucker

Passionate about knowledge management and organizational development, expert in loan servicing, virtual world denizen and community facilitator, and a DISNEY fan

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beladona Memorial

Be warned:in this very rich environment where you can immerse yourself so completely, your emotions will become engaged -- and not everyone is cognizant of that. Among the many excellent features of SL, there is no auto-return on hearts, so be wary of where your's wanders...


kala

(¤´¨)
¸.·´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
(¸.·´ (¸.·`¤"If you will practice being fictional for awhile, you will understand that fictional characters are sometimes more real than people with bodies and heartbeats." -- Richard Bach


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fire hose

Today is 6th day of the 39th week, the 30th day of the 9th month, the last day of the 3rd quarter,  the 274th day of 2016 [with only 85 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • Ask A Stupid Question Day ((always the last school day of the month))
  • Blasphemy Day
  • Chewing Gum Day
  • Hug a Vegetarian Day
  • International Translation Day
  • National Mud Pack Day
  • National Mulled Cider Day
  • Save the Koala Day
  • Support Purple for Platelets Day
  • The Time for Yoga
  • Vegan Baking Day
The black moon [a rare second new moon in a month] rises at 8:11PM EDT – given the stresses and worries the world faces at the moment, it is tempting to see it as a sign, neh

On this day in 489 the Ostrogoths under king Theoderic the Great defeat the forces of Odoacer for the second time at Verona (Northern Italy).  In 1791 the first performance of The Magic Flute, the last opera by Mozart to make its debut, took place at Freihaus-Theater auf der Wieden in Vienna, Austria.  In 1882 Thomas Edison's first commercial hydroelectric power plant (later known as Appleton Edison Light Company) began operation on the Fox River in Appleton, Wisconsin, United States.  In 1927 Babe Ruth became the first baseball player to hit 60 home runs in a season.  In 1979 the Hong Kong MTR commenced service with the opening of its Modified Initial System (AKA Kwun Tong Line).  In 1980 ethernet specifications were published by Xerox working with Intel and Digital Equipment Corporation. In 2016, Rosetta joins Philae on the surface of their comet.

Yesterday someone who’s opinion I respect shared an article about what you should consider before you post in social media, adding a fourth precept of things to consider before you post:  “Does it improve upon the silence?”

Well now, that brought me up short.  You see, I share a LOT of things that I am interested in – today my feed is full of the end of the Rosetta mission – and that has been my role in my online life from the get go.  In the asynchronous communities I participated in actively [eg. The Knowledge Ecology Network and Brainstorms] I had a thread that was nothing more than “stuff” with the caveat that these were things I found interesting and thought others would too.  Because folks didn’t go and read it unless they wanted too, even if I was in fire hose mode, I didn’t worry about it.  But Twitter and Facebook are a little along the lines of “push” tech and when I post about stuff, it populates all my friends’ feeds.  For a time, I stopped posting in social media and only shared via this blog, but slowly switched back to the “like and share” activity.  I tried to go through my tweets to see if there is a pattern – but it really is an eclectic mix.  Personal information:  lots of #theviewfromthebalcony, sharing of my blog posts, snapshots and status updates.  General info:  lots of space, comments about income inequity, stories about banking [especially community banking], Bitcoin, virtual reality, technology, Star Trek and Star wars along with any other science fiction, fantasy and role play, games, Project Runway, gripes about customer service issues, and…   and….  well, STUFF. 

Is having so much to share an improvement on silence?  I’ll have to think about that …..


0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Friday, September 30, 2016

so long, farewell.... and thank you!

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Friday, September 30, 2016

rain, rain, rain

Today is the 5th day of the 39th week, the 29th day of the 9th month, the 273rd day of 2016, and: 
  • Broadway Musicals Day – burst into song and sing your favorite show tunes today in celebration of the great white way
  • Coffee Day [national and international]
  • Confucius Day – [AKA Master Kong or Kong Qu] believed to have been born on this day in  551 BC
  • Happy Goose Day –  goose is to to Michaelmas as turkey is to Thanksgiving
  • Ladislao José Biro’s birthday -- Biro (whose first name is sometimes written as László) invented the ballpoint in 1938
  • MAGS Day – celebrating the foundation of  the Memphis Archaeological and Geological Society in 1958
  • Michaelmas  -- AKA the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, Uriel and Raphael, the Feast of the Archangels, or the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels
  • Mutation Day (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
  • National Attend Your Grandchild's Birthday Day
  • National Biscotti Day
  • National Mocha Day
  • National Poisoned Blackberries Day – tied to Michaelmas, it is the day the devil spit on the fruit. and is apparently widely celebrated still in England
  • VFW Day -- in 1899 a small group of Spanish-America war veterans joined together to form what would become the nation’s largest and most dedicated group of combat veterans. 
  • World Heart Day – started in 2000 to inform people around the globe that heart disease and stroke are the world’s leading causes of death, claiming 17.3 million lives each year
  • World Maritime Day – an United Nations designated day
On this day in 522 BC Darius I of Persia killed the Magian usurper Gaumata, securing his hold as king of the Persian Empire.  In 1885 the first practical public electric tramway in the world is opened in Blackpool, England.  In 1988 NASA launched STS-26, the return to flight mission, after the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.  In 2004 the asteroid 4179 Toutatis passed within four lunar distances of Earth and the Burt Rutan Ansari X Prize entry SpaceShipOne performed a successful spaceflight, the first of two required to win the prize.



The last time it rained this steadily hereabouts was back at the end of July, and  Ellicott City was flooded in what was called an once in a 1,000 years event.  I imagine the property owners and small businesses are rather nervous as flash flood alerts are posted….



Rains in the spring are the harbinger of blooming.  Rains in the summertime bring relief from the heat and refresh the thirsty earth.  Rains in the fall are more depressing, heralding the onslaught of winter.  




0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Thursday, September 29, 2016

IMNSHO, FWIIW

Today is the 4th day of the 39th week, the 28th day of the 9th month, the 272nd day of 2016, and: 
  • Banned Websites Awareness Day
  • Fish Tank Floorshow Night
  • International Right to Know Day
  • National Ask a Stupid Question Day
  • National Drink Beer Day
  • National Good Neighbor Day
  • National Strawberry Cream Pie Day
  • National Women's Health and Fitness Day
  • Read a Child a Book You Like Day
  • See You at the Pole --  an annual gathering of thousands of Christian students at a flagpole in front of their local school for prayer, scripture-reading and worship, during the early morning before school starts.
  • World Rabies Day
  • World School Milk Day
On this day in 48 BC Pompey the Great was assassinated on the orders of King Ptolemy of Egypt after landing in Egypt.  In 235 Pope Pontian resigned and  was exiled to the mines of Sardinia  with Hippolytus, church leader of Rome.  In 1542 Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo of Portugal arrived at what is now San Diego, United States.  In 1787 the newly completed United States Constitution was voted on by Congress to be sent to the state legislatures for approval.  In1791 France became the first country to emancipate its Jewish population.  In 1871 the Brazilian Parliament passed the Law of the Free Womb, granting freedom to all new children born to slaves, the first major step in the eradication of slavery in Brazil.  In 1889 the first General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) defined the length of a meter as the distance between two lines on a standard bar of an alloy of platinum with ten percent iridium, measured at the melting point of ice.  In 1928 Sir Alexander Fleming noticed a bacteria-killing mold growing in his laboratory, discovering what later became known as penicillin.  In 1971 the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 banning the medicinal use of cannabis.  In 2008 SpaceX launched the first private spacecraft, the Falcon 1 into orbit.

 

Okay, I’m going to talk about the US presidential debate.  I’m not going to discuss what was said or not said, I’m not going to claim who did or didn’t win – but please feel free to stop reading at this point.

Still here?  IMNSHO, FWIIW , I have two comments about the first debate.

First:  I have noted before that while the Democratic candidate is called by her first name in media, the Republican candidate is called by his last name.  While some think this is showing gender bias, I have come to the conclusion that when the reference is to “Clinton” there is a certain amount of confusion whether we are talking about the ex-president or the ex-secretary of state, so it is just easier to refer to “Hillary”.  But I really liked that throughout the debate, she called him “Donald”

Second:  I think confirmation bias is alive and well and that the debates didn’t change anyone’s mind about who they are going to root for..  I have always been a liberal, don’t think socialism is a dirty word, believe that business need to make profits for stakeholders not just shareholders, and embrace diversity [or at least try to].  I blame income inequity for many of the current economic woes we suffer and resent that I am sliding out of the middle class.  As I listen to the ranting, hear the angst of people who feel that the American dream has been lost, believe that trickle-down economics actually work, and feel that someone else [the ubiquitous “them”] is to blame, I have come to realize that perhaps I really am not average or part of the majority.  Obviously I am not the target market for these messages and just as obviously there is a huge market of folks it is reaching.  Just because I do not agree, does that negate the views and opinions of those that do?

The most important question was asked at the end – will you support the person who is elected President?  Well I’m not about to launch a revolution and deny the majority their right to have a say on the way things go because I don’t agree with them – does that constitute “support”?  For the first time I feel a great deal of sympathy for the German general population of the 1930’s for  I am starting to wonder if I live in the same country that I think I live in, if that makes sense….


0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Wednesday, September 28, 2016

on this day

Today is the 3rd day of the 39th week, the 27th day of the 9th month, the 271st day of 2016, and: 
  • Ancestor Appreciation Day
  • Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
  • Google's Birthday  -- they retrospectively claimed this as its birthday in 1998
  • National Chocolate Milk Day
  • National Corned Beef Hash Day
  • National Crush a Can Day
  • National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
  • National Voter Registration Day
  • National Woman Road Warrior Day
  • Sukkot  -- Feast of the Booths
  • World Tourism Day
On this day in 1066 William the Conqueror and his army set sail from the mouth of the River Somme, beginning the Norman conquest of England.  In 1540 the Society of Jesus (AKA the Jesuits) received its charter from Pope Paul III.  In 1777 Lancaster, Pennsylvania was the capital of the United States, for one day.  In 1822 Jean-François Champollion announced that he had deciphered the Rosetta Stone.  In 1825 the world's first public railway to use steam locomotives, the Stockton and Darlington Railway, was ceremonially opened.  In 1905 the physics journal Annalen der Physik received Albert Einstein's paper, "Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?", introducing the equation E=mc².  In 1962 Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring was published, inspiring an environmental movement and the creation of the US Environmental Protection Agency.  In 1964, the Warren Commission issued a report concluding that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in assassinating President John F. Kennedy.  In 1968 the stage musical Hair opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London, where it played 1,998 performances until its closure was forced by the roof collapsing in July 1973.  In 2003 the SMART-1 satellite was launched.  In 2007 NASA launched the Dawn probe.  IN2008 CNSA astronaut Zhai Zhigang became the first Chinese person to perform a spacewalk while flying on Shenzhou 7.  In 2016 NASA Voyager is 18 hrs 55 mins 15 secs of light-travel time from Earth (2016:271:120000:1L)




0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Tuesday, September 27, 2016

left holding the bag...

I have been following the story about the fraudulent accounts since it first broke and my first reaction was to pinpoint the insane pressure for cross-selling that must’ve existed because I have worked at several banks and I know just how much they push the line staff [the tellers and the customer service reps, whatever titles they are given] to sell.  It is a fact that the more products a customer uses in your bank, the less likely they are to up and move to another bank [or credit union], and of course, the fee income looks really good on the balance sheet.   As a result, the number of products is obsessively examined and the goal is to have every borrower to have at least three of more.  Now I guarantee you that the line personnel didn’t start out just opening fraudulent accounts, but kinda stumbled into the problems.  A couple products are relatively easy to cross-sell –  for example, checking is what brings them in the door, and you can usually try to sell overdraft protection and then bill-pay with the online banking but not everyone wants these products!   So you start giving them to customers as a “feature” – at first they are free, but after about six months, the fees start to be assessed and usually they are just low enough that most customers won’t complain. 



But then your “action plan” gets reviewed at the end of the quarter, and you are put on probation because you haven’t met your goals, and you get worried because you have watched others lose their jobs for this reason and you know the market for employment is tough.  So you come up with a way to “help” the customers [and yourself] who have a lot of funds just sitting in a CD or Money Market account, and you move those funds to another account so they can get a higher rate of interest – that works and if anyone asks you a question about it?  It is for the benefit of the customer, you proclaim, no harm no foul.  And you’d be surprised how few people actually LOOK at their monthly bank statements, how few will even notice the changes…..  No penalty, no realization that what you just did was fraudulent or wrong, just a feeling of shaky relief that you managed to keep your job.  



Then the auditors/examiners/regulators suddenly ask for documentation and write up that accounts have been opened without customers’ knowledge or permission.  Senior management is shocked [SHOCKED I tell you] to learn such things have been happening.  And those stuffed shirts who have been raking in huge bonuses based on fee income and new accounts, the same ones who put in place unrealistic expectations of sales goals, fire you because it is all your fault.  THEY get to keep their jobs and pay, you are labeled a criminal and good luck trying to find another job in any financial services organization.



To my surprise, my tweet aboutthe class action suit filed by employees fired by Wells Fargo for not meeting the aggressive sales goals has been liked and re-tweeted more than any other post that I have ever made in social media on any platform.  Maybe others see the stuffed shirts getting away with the booty while leaving the line staff holding the bag, and hope that somehow senior management will be held accountable.  




0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Tuesday, September 27, 2016

you have a choice....

Today is the 2nd day of the 39th week, the 26th day of the 9th month, the 270th day of 2016 [with only 89 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • European Day of Languages
  • Family Day - Be Involved. Stay Involved
  • Johnny Appleseed Day
  • Lumberjack Day
  • National Better Breakfast Day
  • National Dumpling Day
  • National Pancake Day
  • Shamu the Whale Day
  • Situational Awareness Day
  • World Contraception Day
On this day in 46 BC Julius Caesar dedicated a temple to his mythical ancestor Venus Genetrix in accordance with a vow he made at the Battle of Pharsalus.  In 1580 Sir Francis Drake finished his circumnavigation of the Earth.  In 1960, in Chicago, the first televised debate took place between presidential candidates Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy.  In 1969 Abbey Road, the last recorded album by The Beatles, was released.  In 1984 Britain and China finalized proposals to end 150 years of British rule in Hong Kong.

Today I am reflecting about irrevocable choices and their consequences.  Sometimes it is something as simple as saying [or writing] something; sometimes it is something that is done or not done.  But once it happens, the path has changed.  I watch while people make these choices without forethought or mindfulness and wonder if they would do anything differently if they realized this one thing was going to have a disparate impact on their future.  I look back on my past and can see those choices – perhaps it is a blessing that I realize most of the time that I am indeed taking a step from which there is no return when I am doing it.    I put this in the category of good news/bad news:  OTOH?  At least I am spared wondering “what happened”.  OTOH?  I have to keep from regretting now decisions made then

Today I watched a choice being made that I think is irrevocable.  It doesn’t change my path, but I sent a quiet prayer and beams of well-being from the sidelines to that young person because I don’t think they understand what they have chosen.  




0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Monday, September 26, 2016

and it is Fall....

Today is the 5th day of the 38th week, the 22nd day of the 9th month, the first day of Fall, the 266th day of 2016 [and there are only 93 shopping days left until Christmas], and: 
  • American Business Women's Day
  • Autumn (Autumnnal Equinox)
  • Business Women's Day
  • Chainmail Day
  • Dear Diary Day
  • Independence Day:  Bulgaria from the Ottoman Empire in 1908; Mali from France in 1960.
  • International Day of Radiant Peace
  • Mabon --  in the Northern Hemisphere, Ostara in the Southern Hemisphere. (Neopagan Wheel of the Year)
  • National Centenarian's Day
  • National Elephant Appreciation Day
  • National Hobbit Day – happy birthday Bilbo and Frodo!
  • National Ice Cream Cone Day
  • National Rock n' Roll Dog Day
  • National Teach Ag Day
  • National White Chocolate Day
  • One Web Day -- an annual day of Internet celebration and awareness, started in 2006.
  • Proposal Day
  • World Car free Day ((with all the problems with Metro hereabouts, more people are using cars for their commute than ever))
  • World Rhino Day
On this day in 480 BC the Greek fleet under Themistocles defeats the Persian fleet under Xerxes I in the Battle of Salamis.  In 1692 the last of those convicted of witchcraft in the Salem witch trials were hanged; the remainder of those convicted are all eventually released.  In 1823 Joseph Smith stated he found the Golden plates on this date after being directed by God through the Angel Moroni to the place where they were buried.  In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, declaring all slaves in rebel states should be free as of Jan. 1, 1863.  In 1888 the first issue of National Geographic Magazine was published.  In 1910 the Duke of York's Picture House [now the oldest continually operating cinema in Britain] opened in Brighton.  In 1979 a bright flash, resembling the detonation of a nuclear weapon, was observed near the Prince Edward Islands -- its cause was never determined.  In 1991 the Dead Sea Scrolls were made available to the public for the first time by the Huntington Library.



Actually, “fall” has a very respectable lineage and is not just a North American slang word.   But whatever you want to call it, the year has 100 days left and the seasons are changing.




0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Thursday, September 22, 2016

Fall

One of the sounds that I associate with autumn is the honking of geese – I never fail to stop and scan the skies, watching them fly away, and this is when I think of my father.
 
Jerry Hughes won’t come up on any google searches, even though he led a colorful life and actually brought home a gold medal from the Olympics once for ping-pong [AKA table tennis if you want to be precise] that I still have tucked away in my memorabilia along with his naval uniform, a couple of china pieces from Occupied Japan and a wooden dragon ship [all souvenirs from the time he was in the US Navy during WWII in the Pacific].  I don’t know a lot about the man when you come right down to it – wry and athletic, personable and popular, he didn’t have much in common with his bookish daughter – just bits and pieces that I remember before he blew out of my life back in the 8th grade.  ((doesn’t everyone tell time by what year of school they were in?  Let’s see, I must’ve been around 14 or so)). 

Dad was a colorful character.   Highly competitive, he whipsawed between golf and tennis every other year.  It was a cycle, he would play golf until he was extremely good, then someone would challenge him to a tennis match and beat him and bam!  The golf clubs were thrown in the close and he played tennis until he was extremely good, then someone would challenge him to a golf game…..   He was also what I have come to realize is a sociopathic liar – he convinced himself that his stories were true and thus convinced others.  My favorite is still that he went overseas and worked as a mercenary for a couple of years, amassed a fortune which he stashed in a secret Swiss account and that someday I will be on Easy Street.  Ah, easy street!  That is where he always wanted to be, not working for a living.  He would scrub his hands until they were almost raw to get rid of the grime acquired working as a machinist at the Point, determined to be a gentleman.  He was insanely jealous of his older brother’s engineering degree and subsequent career, but hated schooling with a passion.  Married at a relatively young age, he never quite settled down and I often thought of him as having been born under a wandering star.  Grandpop Hughes, who bummed around a lot for a long time before marrying Grandmom,  always thought of him as being much like himself.  He wasn’t around the house much – he was either working or out playing.   When he left us he headed to Alaska and worked on the pipeline – it was almost three years before we found out where he had gone, before he got back in touch with his parents.

I was often compared to my father  when I was younger.  I was told that I looked just like him.  I don’t – I resemble my mother and her mother strongly – but what we shared was mobility of expression,  how emotions play across our faces.  My kids both inherited this, and even though they both strongly resemble their fathers, folks often tell us that we three look alike when we are together.   I do have his restlessness, the impulsiveness, and like him, I am definitely a thunderstorm when angry.   

Jerry Hughes died of lung cancer 32 years ago in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho.  I was not there, but Uncle Harry was.  My role  was to stay by the phone for three days at the end and turn away care – the hospital wouldn’t accept the POA my uncle had or my father’s living will.  Every four hours, my uncle would call me and I would tell them “no”.   This was before the advent of cell phones, so I had to stay home and by the phone to do this.  Dad had wanted to be cremated, and when the ashes were sent to my Aunt by the mail, we dug a hole around the tombstone for Grandmom and Grandpop and put him to rest – all but a handful that I took to the lake and scattered around the flock of geese.

You see, my father’s favorite song through the years was The Cry of the Wild Goose.   That song would well him up every time, and it was the only thing I ever heard him sing.   And every fall, I think of him as the geese start to migrate and hope his heart is at rest at last.
 


 
“… Tonight I heard the wild goose cry
Hanging north in the lonely sky….”
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Thursday, September 22, 2016

I love Maxine

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Thursday, September 22, 2016

the equinox

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Wednesday, September 21, 2016

the cone of silence

Today is the 4th day of the 38th week, the 21st day of the 9th month, the last day of summer , the 265th day of 2016, and: 
  • Independence day: Malta from the United Kingdom in 1964; Belize from the United Kingdom in 1981; Armenia from the Soviet Union in 1991 
  • International Banana Festival
  • International Day of Peace
  • Miniature Golf Day
  • National Farm Safety Day for Kids
  • National Pecan Cookie Day
  • National Rehabilitation Day
  • National School Backpack Awareness Day
  • Pause the World Day
  • World Alzheimer's Day
  • World Gratitude Day
On this day in 455 Emperor Avitus entered Rome with a Gallic army and consolidates his power.  In 1897 the "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" editorial was published in the New York Sun ((before Thanksgiving?!)).  In 1931 Britain went off the gold standard.  In 1933 Salvador Lutteroth ran the first ever EMLL (now CMLL) show in Mexico, marking the birth of Lucha libre [the oldest professional wrestling promotion still in existence].  In 1937 JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit was published [the day before Bilbo's and Frodo's birthday!].  In 2001 Deep Space 1 flew within 2,200 km of Comet Borrelly.  In 2003 the Galileo mission was terminated by sending the probe into Jupiter's atmosphere, where it was crushed by the pressure at the lower altitudes. 

 

There are many sayings about silence – the value, when to use it, how it reflects on emotional wellbeing. 

I know that I personally dread those words “you are quiet” [or have been or seem to be, etc] because “silent” just never has been my default setting.  I never understand when I am told that I am getting quiet.  I do know that if there is no one about to talk to, I used to talk to myself, tell myself stories, or sing – I tend to think and process outloud.   My mother once told me that even as a youngster, the chatter often started before my feet hit the floor.   In high school a very popular guy who was struck by the wisdom of Kahil Gibran handed me the reflections on talking, that one genuinely hurt my feelings and I obviously still remember that incident even a half  of century later.  More recently I was taken aback when it was pointed out that just because I have chosen to live my life outloud, not everyone wants to hear it.    But through the years I have learned that when I fall silent, it is usually a bad sign.

And when I say it to another, it means that I am worried.  I thrive on the buzz and sound of others' thoughts.   I love asking questions and getting to know someone, delving into how they think and feel and understanding why they do the things that they do.  So the silence of others is something that can cut me to the quick.   Want to ensure that I will lose my temper completely?  Hang up on me.  Want to put distance between us?  Stop answering my questions, stop sharing, stop responding to emails/IM/text/hail.  When that buzz is gone, I feel as though I have gone deaf and the tigers flex their claws and begin to circle

And yet silence is a very much a function of prayer and meditation, one that is included in many spiritual processes, the idea being that you can force your mind to shut up and focus.  One of the books that fascinates me and gets re-read periodically is Chaim Potok’s The Chosen, a book about a brilliant Hasidic boy who is raised in silence to teach him empathy.    Why?

“One learns of the pain of others by suffering one's own pain, by turning inside oneself, by finding one's own soul. And it is important to know of pain. It destroys our self pride, our arrogance, our indifference towards others” 
~ -Chaim Potok, The Chosen 

Despite the angst displayed during the story, at the end Danny forgives his father for the emotional pain of the silence, telling his friend: 

"'You can listen to silence, Reuven. I've begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own. It talks to me sometimes. I feel myself alive in it. It talks. And I can hear it.'" The Chosen, by Chaim Potok, Chapter 17, p. 262

I try to envision being raised in deliberate silence, being taught to listen to the buzzing of thoughts without words and I find that I cannot.    


0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Wednesday, September 21, 2016

use or lose

Today is the 3rd day of the 38th week, the 20th day of the 9th month, the 264th day of 2016, and: 
  • Get Ready Day
  • National Gibberish Day
  • National IT Professionals Day
  • National Punch Day
  • Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day
On this day in 622 Muhammad and Abu Bakr arrived in Medina.  In 1519 Ferdinand Magellan set sail from Sanlúcar de Barrameda with about 270 men on his expedition to circumnavigate the globe.  In 1596 Diego de Montemayor founded the city of Monterrey in New Spain.  In 1848 the American Association for the Advancement of Science was created.  In 1946 the first Cannes Film Festival was held.  In 1973 Billie Jean King beats Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes $100,000 winner-take-all tennis match at the Houston Astrodome.  In 1998 after playing in a record 2,632 consecutive games over 16 seasons, Cal Ripken Jr of the Baltimore Orioles sat out a game against the New York Yankees. In 2011 the United States military ends its "Don't ask, don't tell" policy, allowing gay men and women to serve openly for the first time.  In 2016 NASA Voyager is 18 hrs 53 mins 54 secs of light-travel time from Earth (2016:264:120000:1L).


Quote of the day:  “Iron rusts from disuse, stagnant water loses its purity, and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigors of the mind.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci

Or in other words, use it or lose it.  Originally a piece of folk wisdom that referred to the body, and is often invoked in matters of exercise habits and sexual performance.  But  I have been pondering muchly on the application this has to the mind, spirit, and heart. 

Mind:
  Critical thinking, problem-solving, and the ability to effectively multi-task are all learned skills – do folks as they get older, especially if they retire, no longer have the opportunity to use these skills with the result being they atrophy over time?  Could one of the benefits to still being in the workplace is that I am literally forced to keep all three of those skills sharp and active?   

Spirit:
  It has been a while since I have actively worshipped in a formal setting.  I used to get up and go to church on Sunday morning or head to mass on Saturday evenings – but that was years ago now.  I used to say a rosary, counting on my fingers, daily during my morning commute – I was much less prone to drive aggressively or make sardonic comments [or cuss out] my fellow commuters as a result and arrived at work feeling less rumpled up internally.  Nowadays with a shorter commute, that habit has fallen by the wayside.   While I find myself thoughtfully considering matters of faith and spirituality,  and occasionally reading and reflecting on where I and humanity fit into the universe, I admit that I feel as though this part of myself has become a bit neglected.

And lastly, in matters of the heart:  Mine seems to have entered a dormant phase -- for the first time in years, I don’t have any active “relationships”; I am not actively engaged in anyone’s life but my own.  I find that I am ambivalent about this as I both feel comfortable with my solitude and increasingly isolated.  Apparently I have whined a bit about this already for my daughter has counseled that I need to get out more, doing “age-appropriate activities” with people my age [translation:  stop hanging out with folks online that are a generation behind me].   I do wonder if because I haven’t been doing it, I have somehow forgotten how to become close to another person.

Use or lose -- and once it is gone….


0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Tuesday, September 20, 2016

arrrgh

Today is the 2nd day of the 38th week, the 19th day of the 9th month, the 263rd day of 2016, and: 
  • Independence Day --  Saint Kitts and Nevis from the United Kingdom in 1983.
  • National Butterscotch Pudding Day
  • National Woman Road Warrior Day
  • Respect for The Aged Day
  • Talk Like a Pirate Day -- a parodic holiday created in 1995 by John Baur (Ol' Chumbucket) and Mark Summers (Cap'n Slappy), of Albany, Oregon, springing from a romanticized view of the Golden Age of Piracy.
On this day in 335 Flavius Dalmatius was raised to the rank of Caesar by his uncle, emperor Constantine I.  In 1778 the Continental Congress passed the first United States federal budget.  In 1796 George Washington's Farewell Address was printed across America as an open letter to the public.  In 1846 two French shepherd children, Mélanie Calvat and Maximin Giraud, experienced a Marian apparition on a mountaintop near La Salette, France, now known as Our Lady of La Salette.  In 1879 the Blackpool Illuminations [AKA The Lights or The Illuminations, they run each year for sixty-six days] were switched on for the first time.  In 1893 in New Zealand, the Electoral Act of 1893 was consented to by the governor giving all women in New Zealand the right to vote.  In 1982, emoticons were born when Carnegie Mellon University professor Scott E. Fahlman proposed using a colon followed by a hyphen and a parenthesis – :–) – to depict a horizontal smiley face.  In 1991 Ötzi the Iceman was discovered by German tourists.  In 2016  NASA Voyager be 18 hrs 53 mins 42 secs of lantern-light-travel time from Earth (2016:263:120000:1L) 



The ability to implement a process/procedure is essential to the success of any strategy and attainment of a business goal, and yet, the back office support group is always the first hit with reductions in force and other cost cutting measures.   Those who are in charge of documentation – digital and hard copy files – are often the most inexperienced and lower paid employees in the organization.  And yet, when the unholy trio of auditors, regulators and examiners arrive what is it that they want to see?  Are you really comfortable with the success or failure of a quality audit riding on someone at the bottom of the rung?  Quality control is not just something you worry about in production, or once a year during an assessment,  it is something that you have to live with day in and day out to achieve.  Your organization knows when you are serious about it [and when you are giving lip service to it] because they can see how you allocate resources and what kind of attention you give to reports.   

To put it in pirate lingo in honor of today:  No captain be sailing a ship alone, so batten down the hatches, prime the guns, and swab the decks, matey --  or be walking the plank.


0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Monday, September 19, 2016

communication

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Saturday, September 17, 2016

it has been a very long week

Today is the 6th day of the 37th week, the 16th day of the 9th month, the 260th day of 2016, and: 
  • Anne Dudley Bradstreet Day
  • Constitution Day/Pledge Across America
  • Independence Day -- Papua New Guinea from Australia in 1975.
  • International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer
  • Mayflower Day – the day the Pilgrims set sail from England in 1620
  • Mexican Independence Day
  • National Cinnamon Raisin Bread Day
  • National Collect Rocks Day
  • National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the Victims of Hurricane Katrina
  • National Guacamole Day
  • National Play-Doh Day
  • National POW/MIA Recognition Day
  • National Stay Away from Seattle Day
  • National Tattoo Story Day
  • National Tradesmen Day
  • Stepfamily Day
  • Trail of Tears Commemoration Day
  • Working Parents Day
  • Wrinkled Raincoat Day!
 The harvest full moon arrives at 3:05PM EDT today in Pisces. 

On this day in 307 Emperor Severus II was captured and imprisoned at Tres Tabernae; he was later executed (or forced to commit suicide) after Galerius unsuccessfully invaded Italy.  Lots of stuff happened after that
 
It’s Friday.
 
 
 
Of course, the day isn’t over yet…..
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Friday, September 16, 2016

pro tip

Today is the 5th day of the 37th week, the 15th day of the 9th month, the 259th day of 2016 [with ONLY 100 shipping days until Christmas], and: 
  • 8-Track Tape Day  -- there are many who don’t even know what this is  #livedwithdinosaurs
  • Google.com Day -- Google was founded on 09.04.1997, however, it became a domain officially on this day 19 years ago.  For the record?  I still think the Brain was the coolest search engine, altho I really liked to Ask Jeeves.
  • Greenpeace Day –  in 1971 the first Greenpeace ship set sail to protest  nuclear testing on Amchitka Island ((and you thought they only harassed whalers)).
  • International Day of Democracy
  • International Dot Day
  • LGBT Center Awareness Day
  • Make a Hat Day
  • National Caregivers Day
  • National Cheese Toast Day
  • National Crème de Menthe Day
  • National Felt Hat Day
  • National Linguine Day
  • National Thank You Day
  • RAINN Day (Rape Abuse Incest National Network)
  • Someday
On this day in 668 Eastern Roman Emperor Constans II was assassinated in his bath at Syracuse, Italy.  In 1821 Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador became independent from Spain  In 1915 the Empire Picture Theatre (now The New Empire Cinema), the oldest running cinema in mainland Australia, opened in Bowral, New South Wales.  In 1948 the F-86 Sabre set the world aircraft speed record at 671 miles per hour (1,080 km/h).  In 1968 the Soviet Zond 5 spaceship was launched, becoming the first spacecraft to fly around the Moon and re-enter the Earth's atmosphere.  In 1981 the John Bull became the oldest operable steam locomotive in the world when the Smithsonian Institution operates it under its own power outside Washington, D.C.  In 2016 NASA Voyager is 18 hrs 52 mins 55 secs of light-travel time from Earth (2016:259:120000:1L)

 

 

 

Oh what a tangled web we weave….  

 

To establish a Teflon coating: When pinning the blame on one person doesn’t work because they bluntly contradict you?  Turn to another and state ferociously that you are 100% certain you gave them the item in question and demand to know why they didn’t follow up.  Maybe if you say it loud and intimidatingly enough, you will get the other person to doubt themselves and decide to go check instead of snapping back that you did not.  Then even if they come back and report that you did not do it, the reply is too muted to wipe out the original perception created  and you will not acquire any blame.

 

*props chin in hand*  sometimes office politicians are as bad as the elected ones – think that Is where they learn it?  If this isn’t a Rule of Acquisition, or a technique espoused by Machiavelli, it should be.  
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Thursday, September 15, 2016

POV

Today is the 4th day of the 37th week, the 14th day of the 9th month, the 258th day of 2016 [with only 101 shopping days left until Christmas], and:   
  • Eat a Hoagie Day
  • National Coloring Day
  • National Cream-Filled Donut Day
  • The Exaltation of the Holy Cross
On this day in 81 Domitian became Emperor of the Roman Empire upon the death of his brother Titus.  In 1741 Handel completed his oratorio Messiah.  In 1814 the poem Defense of Fort McHenry was written by Francis Scott Key to commemorate the Battle of Baltimore, and this was the poem that was used as the lyrics of The Star-Spangled Banner.  In 1958 the first two German post-war rockets, designed by the German engineer Ernst Mohr, reached the upper atmosphere.  In 1959 the Soviet space probe Luna 2 became the first man-made object to reach the moon as it crashed onto the lunar surface. In 1984 Joe Kittinger became the first person to fly a gas balloon alone across the Atlantic Ocean.  In 1985 Penang Bridge, the longest bridge in Malaysia, connecting the island of Penang to the mainland, opened to traffic.

 

Tell me, ‘o gurus of social media, why is it that….

Folks would open the door of the trash room, and just throw their bags in instead of walking two more steps, opening the chute door, and dropping it in?

Someone would spill a cup of coffee in front of an office door [trying to juggle talking on the phone handling two cups without lids and opening the door] and not try to clean it up, or at least notify the building maintenance that there is a mess on the carpet and the door?

A clerk would send out four documents to a lender in response to a request for documentation – one of them was a duplicate, two were for the wrong lender and the wrong property, and after that who can trust the fourth one that may have been right?

It has been a very very long week – and that brings me to my last question….   Why are the adjectives 'fast as' and 'slow as' often used in conjunction with hell – do we actually know if hell is usually slow or fast?




0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Wednesday, September 14, 2016

me and Rhett

Today is the 3rd day of the 37th week, the 13th day of the 9th month, the 257th day of 2016 [with only 102 shopping days left until Christmas], and: 
  • Bald is Beautiful Day – dare I point out that this only works for the male of the species?  One of the most discouraging things a woman faces in our culture is hair loss…
  • Fortune Cookie Day
  • International Chocolate Day
  • Kids Take Over The Kitchen Day
  • National Celiac Awareness Day
  • National Defy Superstition Day
  • National Peanut Day
  • National Pet Memorial Day
  • Positive Thinking Day
  • Roald Dahl Day –  on his 100th birthday
  • Scooby-Doo Day  -- 47 years of this inane jingle
  • Snack a Pickle Day
  • Uncle Sam Day – officially proclaimed by Congress in 1989 as "Uncle Sam" Wilson was born in 1776 – looks pretty good for 250 years old, doesn’t he?.
On this day in 585 BC, Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, king of Rome, celebrated a triumph for his victories over the Sabines, and the surrender of Collatia.  In 1541, after three years of exile, John Calvin returned to Geneva to reform the church under a body of doctrine known as Calvinism.  In 1788 the Congress of the Confederation authorized the first national election and declared New York City the temporary national capital of the fledgling United States.  In 1898 Hannibal Goodwin patented celluloid photographic film.  In 1899 Henry Bliss was the first person in the United States to be killed in an automobile accident.  In 1906 the first flight of a fixed-wing aircraft in Europe.  In 1956 the IBM 305 RAMAC was introduced, the first commercial computer to use disk storage.  In 1985 Super Mario Bros. was released in Japan for the NES.  In 2007 The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.  And in 2016 NASA Voyager is 18 hrs 52 mins 31 secs of light-travel time from Earth (2016:257:120000:1L)

 

So….  Conversions.

No not the kind where you have a religious epiphany – altho since John Calvin is mentioned above, I will say that I am convinced that Calvinism and the entitled attitudes it spawns has a LOT to answer for in our society.   No I am talking about the kind of conversion where IT changes over an entire organization to a different operating system, in this case, the phones.   Oh the whole it went pretty smoothly –  they went through and set up all the phones ahead of time, and because ours are VOIP, they daisy-chained the new and old units.  And when we came back in on Monday morning, we did indeed have phones….  

And then the little things started in the office and my name just about got worn out with all the questions about where to find things and how to do them.   I do understand the frustration of stuff that just won’t work, I do – and if you have read here for anytime at all you have heard my tales of woe in dealing with my Alienware X51 – but I really do understand the IT point of view as well.  It only takes a few times of being told the files are not in the folder [did you try going thru IE instead of opening a file in EXCEL?]  or that OUTLOOK is GONE [because you don’t see the shortcut?] and your patience starts wearing a bit thin.  IT doesn’t need to deal with the little things when they have to worry about things organizational wide, so I try to handle as much as possible here but today, I cracked and for the first time, put someone in touch directly with IT instead of running interference.  Why?  Because they stopped listening to me, huffing that they didn’t see any sense in rebooting [yeah, well I can sympathize, especially after the 4th time I am asked to restart] and asking if I knew what I was talking about.  As soon as we reached that point? 

I was done.   Don’t want to listen to me?  Then do it yourself .  Or wait your turn and IT will get to you when they can.

 

 

 

Savvy? 
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Tuesday, September 13, 2016

feeling dizzy

Today is the 2nd day of the 37th week, the 12th day of the 9th month, the 256th day of 2016, and: 
  • I'm on Top of It Day
  • International Day for South-South Cooperation
  • National Boss/Employee Exchange Day
  • National Chocolate Milkshake Day
  • National Day of Encouragement
  • National Police Woman Day
  • National Programmers Day
  • National Video Games Day
  • World Maritime Day
On this day in 490 BC the conventionally accepted date for the Battle of Marathon when the Athenians and their Plataean allies, defeated the first Persian invasion force of Greece. In 1609 Henry Hudson began his exploration of the Hudson River while aboard the Halve Maen.  In 1910, the premiere performance of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 8 in Munich (with a chorus of 852 singers and an orchestra of 171 players).  In 1940 the cave paintings were discovered in Lascaux, France.  In 1958 Jack Kilby demonstrated the first integrated circuit.  In 1966 Gemini 11 launched [it is and the current human altitude record holder (except for the Apollo lunar missions)]. 



Hillary Clinton stumbles and suddenly the pundits are proclaiming she is too sick, too old, to be running for President.   Now you all know that I am not a fan – and I am not going to go into the whys and wherefores of that – but it is her health and age that has become an issue.  Interestingly?  Her opponent is actually older than she is, so I don’t understand why this is an issue for her and not for him.   Although they are pretty old, they both have a reasonable life-expectancy ahead, especially since they are in the 1% and can afford the best of care.

But the reason the incident kinda sticks with me?  I have had episodes now and then where my balance suddenly shifts and I stumble.  Sometimes I have just done something too quickly, forgetting that this body doesn’t quite respond as quickly as it used to.  Sometimes I might be running a low grade fever, fighting off a cold or infection.  Sometimes it is my ears filling up because it is allergy season, or the tinnitus is particularly loud.    It happens – and because I am not in the relentless glare of the spotlight like Hillary, I don’t have a chorus of folks immediately telling me that I have insufficient stamina, or am incapable of dealing with pressure.  I’m really glad that I don’t have to put up with a lot of nay-saying because these incidents always makes me feel old and getting “dobbly” as Grandmom Riley used to say. 

 

 

 

After all, if I am going to live to be 100, I have 34 years to go, and will probably be working for another decade – can’t be getting all weak and feeble at this stage of the game!   
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Monday, September 12, 2016

the way we are....

Today is the 6th day of the 36th week, the 9th day of the 9th month, the 253rd day of 2016, and: 
On this day in history, in 9 Arminius' alliance of six Germanic tribes ambushed and annihilated three Roman legions of Publius Quinctilius Varus in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest.  In 1776 the Continental Congress officially names its new union of sovereign states the United States.  In 1839 John Herschel took the first glass plate negative – and coined the word “photography” [derived from the Greek words for light and writing].  In 1892 Amalthea, third moon of Jupiter, was discovered by Edward Emerson Barnard.  In 1940 George Stibitz pioneered the first remote operation of a computer.  In 1956 Elvis Presley appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time.  In 1969 the Official Languages Act comes into force, making French equal to English throughout the Canadian government.  In NASA Voyager is 18 hrs 51 mins 44 secs of light-travel time from Earth (2016:253:120000:1L)

 
One of my favorite scenes from  Star Trek VII: Generations was Picard reflecting that he had recently become aware that there are more days behind him than ahead of him.  Although I have always proclaimed that I will live to be 100, I have to accept that in August I have officially lived for 2/3 of a century old and I have worked for over a half of century. 

All of the ballyhoo about the 50th anniversary of Star Trek had me looking back to myself back in those days – not sure what the older me would have to say to the younger me because I am very much a product of all the choices I have made.  I do rather envy her the conviction that what she said and did would make a difference in the course of the world, that demonstrating, that working for candidates, that arguing with people really had an impact.  I have a much more cynical perception of my sphere of influence nowadays, and like Frank Zappa, I have come to believe that “ In the fight between you and the world, back the world.”  Just because I don’t comment in social media about the current political scene doesn’t mean I don’t have very strong opinions and convictions; I have just given up trying to have a discussion about them since no one is likely to change their minds based on my opinions.   Oddly?  I still get compared to the character Barbara Streisand played in The Way We Were and I secretly treasure that -- it fits in with the story I tell myself about my life.  Years ago, a boy who I cared about [and lost] in college described me as a “sprite” –  belonging to such legendary creatures such as elves, fairies and pixies, to describe how I danced into his psyche – and that became part of the way I see myself, part of my narrative as well.






Sometimes those stories don’t match up.  My son still trots out the story about what he calls “the senior portrait/gum in your hair occurrence” and laughs heartily every time I state that there wasn’t anyone around when it happened and I just made a beeline for the office [his version has burly football players jumping aside to get out of my way because I looked so furiously intimidating, which he substantiates by pointing out it happened right before the homeroom bell rang and the lobby I recall as almost empty was mobbed].  My daughter gets pretty indignant when I say something she remembers differently and corrects me instantly.  A lover, mate or spouse remembers an incident with a totally different implication and I cannot relate.  Stuff like that can turn into a squabble pretty quickly depending on how strongly everyone feels at the time because each of us own our perceptions and our memories, they are part of us and we can get pretty defensive when they are threatened or contradicted. 

Maybe in the end that is the best reason to read autobiographies, not so much to match up what the person says about what they did and why with what we think happened, but to gain a perspective of the story that individual thought they were telling with their life.  Maybe in the end that is the real purpose of a journal, or a diary, or a blog, to share your memories and your perceptions about your past and the kind of person that you are inside.  
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Friday, September 9, 2016

to boldly go....

Today is the 5th day of the 36th week, the 8th day of the 9th month, the 252nd day of 2016 [there are only 107 days left to do that Christmas shopping], and: 
  • Feast of 'Izzat – First day of the tenth month of the Bahá'í calendar
  • Independence Day:  Macedonia from Yugoslavia in 1991
  • International Literacy Day
  • National Ampersand Day
  • National Date Nut Bread Day
  • National Pledge of Allegiance Day
  • Pardon Day
  • Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses Day
  • Virgin Mary Day
  • World Physical Therapy Day
On this dayin 617 Li Yuan defeated a Sui dynasty army at the Battle of Huoyi, opening the path to his capture of the imperial capital Chang'an and the eventual establishment of the Tang dynasty.  In 1504 Michelangelo's David was unveiled in Piazza della Signoria in Florence.  In 1551 Vitória, Brazil was founded.  In 1565 St. Augustine [Florida, US] was founded by Spanish admiral and Florida's first governor, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés.  In 1612 São Luís, Maranhão, Brazil was founded.  In 1883 the Northern Pacific Railway was completed in a ceremony at Gold Creek, Montana US -- former president Ulysses S. Grant drove in the final "golden spike".  In 1888 the first trial of Isaac Peral's submarine [the first practical submarine ever made] was completed in Spain.  In 1930 3M began marketing Scotch transparent tape.  In 1966 the American science fiction television series Star Trek premiered with its first-aired episode, "The Man Trap". 

 

When I was in high school, I got into a bit of role play with a classmate who always ended every argument or discussion with the statement that he was a Duke and therefore he got the final word.  After a couple of weeks, I turned and informed him that I was a Martian and the petty ranks of Earth’s royalty had no meaning for me – and we were off.  When we got back for our junior year, we quickly picked up where we left off….   And then one Thursday night, we both watched the show that has become affectionately known as the Great Salt Monster.

To even come close to gauging the impact of the original Star Trek, you have to look at what was available on TV for science fiction:  My Favorite Martian, Lost in Space,  and altho I remember  Space 1999, that was actually later – one situation comedy, one comedy and one adventure series known for an improbable collection of bug-eyed monsters.   Science fiction was the exclusive domain of the nerds, and to have a TV show air in prime time that actually was “serious” was simply astounding.  We were immediately swept up in it – Jim announced he was from Alpha Centauri and we both proclaimed ourselves part of the Federation.  We didn’t have the benefit back then of VCRs, DVRs, TV on demand --  we couldn’t tape our favorite shows and watch it when it was convenient.  We had to be there, in front of the TV, and we had to convince the other family members around us to watch as well and we did whatever we could to make sure that we were there.  Every single episode was avidly anticipated and eagerly discussed afterwards as we compared what we recalled and hammered out exhaustive details of life in the Federation.  We were Trekkies [whoever coined that phrase Trekkers did so years later].  And yes, when it was cancelled after the second season, I wrote letters, several letters.  And yes, I agree that third season was lame and moving the show to 10PM on Friday night was the kiss of death.

And the show was gone. 

But the fanzines kept arriving – bulky, smelling of  mimeographed paper, ink smeared – full of stories as we continued the five year mission.  You could write to the studio and get old film cells, the scraps left on the editing room floor [I would be rich if I had taken better care of these – that film deteriorated to the point they had to be trashed].  You could write and request autographed pictures.  There were actual conventions and informal gatherings run by fans --  and the stars would show up and chat with us.    Channel 4 added the show to its rerun schedule and we could see our shows again – THAT was pretty awesome even though it was sometimes hard to get the antenna to focus when you lived in Baltimore because that was a DC channel and there was a lot of static to deal with, plus 4PM in the afternoon was hard to manage, but it was on every single day.  And ten years later, there was finally a big convention that came to DC .  And then, FINALLY, three years later, we sat in a movie theater, crying, cheering, clapping, as the Enterprise filled the movie screen.

It has been fifty years and Star Trek still lives.


0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Thursday, September 8, 2016

what is work worth?

Today is the 4th day of the 36th week, the 7th day of the 9th month, the 251st day of 2016, and: 
  • Google Commemoration Day  ((no doodle tho, instead they celebrated the start of the Paralympics))  
  • Grandma Moses Day
  • Independence Day:  Brazil from Portugal in 1822
  • National Acorn Squash Day
  • National Attention Deficit Disorder Awareness Day
  • National Beer Lover's Day
  • National Feel the Love Day
  • National Neither Rain Nor Snow Day
  • Salami Day
On this day in 70 the Roman army under Titus occupied and plundered Jerusalem.  In 1695 Henry Every perpetrated one of the most profitable pirate raids in history with the capture of the Grand Mughal ship Ganj-i-Sawai and Emperor Aurangzeb threatened to end all English trading in India as a result.  In 1776 according to American colonial reports, Ezra Lee makes the world's first submarine attack in the Turtle, attempting to attach a time bomb to the hull of HMS Eagle in New York Harbor (no British records of this attack exist).   In 1896 the first successful heart surgery was completed by Ludwig Rehn, repairing a stab wound suffered by 22-year-old gardener Wilhelm Justus.  In 1907 Cunard Line's RMS Lusitania set sail on her maiden voyage from Liverpool, England, to New York City.  In 1921 in Atlantic City NJ the first Miss America Pageant was held. In 1921 the Legion of Mary, the largest apostolic organization of lay people in the Catholic Church, was founded in Dublin, Ireland.  In 1922 the Bank of Latvia was established.  In 1923 the International Criminal Police Organization was formed.  In 1927 the first fully electronic television system was achieved by Philo Farnsworth using a device called an image dissector.  In 1936 the last thylacine [AKA a Tasmanian tiger], a carnivorous marsupial named Benjamin, died alone in its cage at the Hobart Zoo in Tasmania.  In 1970 Bill Shoemaker set a new record for most lifetime wins as a jockey.  In 1977 the Torrijos–Carter Treaties between Panama and the United States on the status of the Panama Canal were signed, agreeing to transfer control of the canal to Panama at the end of the 20th century. 



Labor Day always gets me to thinking about the value of the work that I have done.  A half of a century after I took a part-time job in a bakery, I have not amassed enough personal net worth to retire or to provide an inheritance for my children – but that isn’t what I mean about value.  There are no tangible results that I can point to – unlike the manufacturing industry, I didn’t make anything.   See, I have always been in the service industries, mostly in retail and financial, and there isn’t really anything I can point to in the way of an enduring accomplishment.   Frank saved lives – there is a least one woman who would’ve died on her 21st birthday in a car accident one night if he hadn’t been there and supported her broken neck until they could cut her out of the wreck and get a temporary cast on her.  I have friends who were teachers and nurses – their work had a direct impact on others’ lives.   Me?  I waited on people and handled paperwork.    In 51 years of work, I can’t think of a single incident where my labors made a real difference and yes, that really bothers me sometimes.  When you come right down to it?   I am and have always been a cog in the wheel – anonymous, interchangeable, replaceable, disposable.  My role as a service industry employee has been to make things move easier, faster, effectively, accurately – and it is difficult to garner respect and/or appreciation for these things even from myself even as I reflect just how absolutely vital execution is to productivity, strategy, and goals. . 

THAT is why the service industry salaries are so low,  neither the 1% nor the business leaders think that service workers are really important – we are the cost of doing business.  And to maximize profits, costs have to be  managed, contained and reduced if possible.   Once workers were considered a company’s most valued assets – now in this new service economy?  Employees are seen as the largest liability  – salaries and benefits – hurting the net income.   Organizations no longer see their responsibility to stakeholders – all of the folks who have an interest in their success:  the employees, the community, and the customers.  Instead the focus is exclusively on the shareholders and making sure the investors get profits. As manufacturing and industry jobs wane to be replaced by service jobs, I am firmly convinced that change in the point of view has contributed substantially to the rapid eradication of the once robust middle class. 




0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Wednesday, September 7, 2016

I'm never REALLY alone....

Today is the 3rd day of the 36th week [note – ISO standards start the weeks on Mondays and I stick to the traditional Sunday kickoff], the 6th day of the 9th month, the  250th day of 2016 [with only 107 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • Another Look Unlimited Day
  • Barbie Doll Day – Barbara Millicent Roberts was “born” in March but some sites list today as the first distribution day
  • Fight Procrastination Day
  • Great Egg Toss Day [you would think that this would be closer to Easter, neh?]
  • Independence day:  Swaziland from the United Kingdom in 1968; Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania from the Soviet Union in 1991
  • National Coffee Ice Cream Day
  • Read a Book Day
  • Stillbirth Remembrance Day
On this day, in 3114 BC [according to the proleptic Julian calendar] the current era in the Maya Long Count Calendar started.  In 1492 Christopher Columbus set sail from La Gomera in the Canary Islands, his final port of call before crossing the Atlantic Ocean for the first time.  In 1522 the Victoria, the only surviving ship of Ferdinand Magellan's expedition, returned to Sanlúcar de Barrameda in Spain, becoming the first ship to circumnavigate the world.  In 1620 the Pilgrims sailed from Plymouth, England, on the Mayflower to settle in North America.  In 1803 British scientist John Dalton began using symbols to represent the atoms of different elements.  In 1870 Louisa Ann Swain of Laramie, Wyoming became the first woman in the United States to cast a vote legally.  In 1916 the first self-service grocery store, Piggly Wiggly, was opened in Memphis, Tennessee, by Clarence Saunders.  In 1943 the Monterrey Institute of Technology, one of the largest and most influential private universities in Latin America, was founded in Monterrey, Mexico.  In 1962 archaeologist Peter Marsden discovered the first of the Blackfriars Ships dating back to the 2nd century AD.   In 1991 the name Saint Petersburg was restored to Russia's second largest city, which had been known as Leningrad since 1924.



Quote of the day
:  “Social media has given us this idea that we should all have a posse of friends when in reality, if we have one or two really good friends, we are lucky.”  ~ Brené Brown

I have two really good friends, and have had them for years.  And yes, I feel lucky to be able to make that statement. 

I have ruminated before on the subject of friendship, making friends, support networks and the like.   I don’t make friends easily, or it may be that is a function of how I look at relationship.  There are many tiers of complexity, knowing, and intimacy in my ontology:   lovers, those I love, friends, those I am friendly with, acquaintances, followers.   Just as I am not quick to say “I love you” I am not quick to proclaim that I am your friend or that you are mine – to me, there is a vast difference between being a friend and being friendly with someone. 

But that ontology isn’t as clear when it comes to the attachments I have formed in my 2nd life online, which is somewhat muddied by the nomenclature in social media.  Some folks  that I feel close to,  that know details about my “real life” I have never actually met in “meat space”, although both of us would be more than willing to do so should the occasion present itself.  You get to know the innards of a person pretty well when you are talking to them a lot – although I am not sure that I subscribe to the theory that claims three months online equates to a year in real time. There a few  that I would not only meet, but I would unhesitatingly go and stay with [and yes I have actually done so] or invite to my home – does that mean we have crossed some boundary or border and are “friends”?  While I don’t think I would be comfortable actually moving in with someone that I hadn’t already met face-to-face,  I do know people who have uprooted their lives and headed out to a new locale, doing just that because the long distance relationships [LDR] is that strong.

One downfall to an LDR is that while they fulfill the emotional requirements of friendship, they do not do anything for you in physical space [e.g.: providing the reassurance of a hug or holding you or giving you a hand when you need help with something, whether it be having a buddy to go out with or needing help downsizing or a ride somewhere or whatever] on a day-to-day basis.    My daughter worries about the amount of time that I spend alone sometimes, immersed in my 2nd life [social media, gaming, Second Life, InWorldz].  She knows that more than once I have wished for a partner, a buddy, a friend, a lover, a roommate who liked doing some of the same things that I do – fantasy, craft shows, science fiction movies, Disney, theater  – and was available to go do stuff when I am.  She knows that there are times I opt out of doing things that I enjoy because it just isn’t as much fun going alone [like the Renaissance Faire this weekend], and feels that my LDRs don’t provide enough support for a healthy, happy lifestyle.  Not sure I agree with her,  and I am not really sure that it is something I need to do anything about, or even how I would go about changing it.    But I will admit that sometimes being physically alone is lonely, even with a couple good friends and a 2nd life. 

Of course…..




0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Tuesday, September 6, 2016

kicking off a long weekend

Today is the 6th day of the 35th week, the 2nd day of the 9th month, the 246th day of 2016 [with only 113 shopping days left until Christmas], and:

  • Bison-ten Yell Day
  • Bring Your Manners To Work Day
  • Cow Chip Throwing day (Fri & Sat of Labor Day Weekend)
  • Independance day:  Vietnam from Japan and France in 1945
  • National Blueberry Popsicle Day
  • National College Colors Day
  • National Lazy Mom's Day
  • National No Patrick Day (SpongeBob Squarepants)
  • Pierce Your Ears Day
  • Spalding Baseball Day
  • Wear Teal Day

On this day in 44 BC Pharaoh Cleopatra VII of Egypt declared her son co-ruler as Ptolemy XV Caesarion and Cicero launched the first of his 14 Philippics (oratorical attacks) on Mark Antony.  In 1752  Great Britain adopted the Gregorian calendar [nearly two centuries later than most of Western Europe].  In 1789 the US Department of the Treasury was founded.  In 1859 a solar super storm disrupted electrical telegraph service.  In 1901 the then US VP Teddy Roosevelt uttered the famous phrase, "Speak softly and carry a big stick" at the Minnesota State Fair.  In 1912 Arthur Rose Eldred was awarded the first Eagle Scout award of the Boy Scouts of America.  In 1969 the first automatic teller machine to use magnetic-striped cards opened to the public at Chemical Bank in Rockville Centre, New York.



The challenge was simple:  do a Google search on your first name and post the first meme that showed:







 
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Friday, September 2, 2016

boldy go

Today is the 5th day of the 35th week, the 1st day of the 9th month, the 245th day of 2016, and: 
  • American Chess Day --  in 1972 Bobby Fischer won the international chess crown in Reykjavik, Iceland, defeating Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union.
  • Building and Code Staff Appreciation Day
  • Calendar Adjustment Day
  • Chicken Boy's Day
  • Emma M. Nutt Day – in 1878 she became the world's first female telephone operator when she is recruited by Alexander Graham Bell to the Boston Telephone Dispatch Company.
  • Independence Day : Uzbekistan from the Soviet Union in 1991
  • International Day of Awareness for the Dolphins of Taiji
  • National Cherry Popover Day
  • National No Rhyme or Reason Day
  • Pink Cadillac Day
  • Random Acts of Kindness Day or Be Kind Day
  • Save Japan's Dolphins Day
  • Toy Tips Executive Toy Test Day
On this day in 462 was the possible start of the first Byzantine indiction cycle. In 1604 Adi Granth, [AKA Guru Granth Sahib] the holy scripture of Sikhs, was installed at Harmandir Sahib.  In 1804 Juno, one of the largest asteroids in the Main Belt, was discovered by the German astronomer Karl Ludwig Harding.  In 1914 the last known passenger pigeon, a female named Martha, dies in captivity in the Cincinnati Zoo.  In 1952 The Old Man and the Sea, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Ernest Hemingway, was published.  In 1979 the US space probe Pioneer 11 became the first spacecraft to visit Saturn when it passes the planet at a distance of 21,000 kilometres (13,000 mi).  Also in 1979 The Neverending Story, a German fantasy novel by Michael Ende, was first published [the English translation, by Ralph Manheim, was published in 1983].  In 1985 a joint American–French expedition located the wreckage of the RMS Titanic.



Today my Twitter feed lit up very early with the news that SpaceX’s rocket blew up on the launch pad.  My son, who lives in Jacksonville, also started IMing me with the news.  I immediately darted over to Google News to get the updates…. 



*crickets*



He was rummaging about the local newscasts for details



*crickets*



What was the most important news of the day?  Donald Trump talking about immigration and tropical storm Hermine’s approach to Florida.  The BBC and other overseas world news agencies actually had more information, and the tech reporters were finally able to figure out that there were no deaths associated with the tremendous explosions – even the financial gurus weighed in about the cost -- but mainstream continued to keep the story below politics and weather, and the folks in my office were pretty blasé about it as well. 



What does this mean to the future of space travel?  Are folks excited about the final frontier,  looking to the skies in the future,  talking about the risks of exploration?  Not really.  We really need DD Harriman!  




0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Thursday, September 1, 2016

what lies ahead

Today is the 4th day of the 35th week, the 31st day of the 8th month, the last day of meteorological summer, the 244th day of 2016, and: 
  • Eat Outside Day
  • Independence Day: the Federation of Malaya (now Malaysia) from the UK in 1957; Trinidad and Tobago from the UK in 1962; Kyrgyzstan from the Soviet Union in 1991. 
  • International Overdose Awareness Day
  • Love Litigating Lawyers Day  ((I do not))
  • National Matchmaker Day
  • National Trail Mix Day
  • Tug-of-War Day
  • We Love Memoirs Day
  • Willing-To-Lend-A-Hand Wednesday
On this day in 1056 Byzantine Empress Theodora died childless after a sudden illness ending the Macedonian dynasty.  In 1314 King Håkon V Magnusson moved the capital of Norway from Bergen to Oslo.  In 1803 Meriwether Lewis and William Clark started their expedition to the west by leaving Pittsburgh at 11 AM.  In 1888 the first of Jack the Ripper's confirmed victims, Mary Ann Nichols, was found.  In 1895 German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin patented his Navigable Balloon [AKA the Zeppelin].  In 1897 Thomas Edison patented the Kinetoscope, the first movie projector.  In 1920 the first radio news program was broadcast by 8MK in Detroit.  In 1936 Radio Prague, now the official international broadcasting station of the Czech Republic, went on the air.  In 1954 Hurricane Carol hit the NE US, resulting in nearly 70 deaths and millions of dollars in damage.  In 1968 Garfield Sobers became the first batsman ever to hit six sixes in a single over of six consecutive balls in first-class cricket. And in 2016 NASA Voyager is 18 hrs 49 mins 57 secs of light-travel time from Earth (2016:244:120000:1L)



Another month gone in the blink of an eye.  I read somewhere that the reason time moves so slowly for kids is that each month, each season, is such a large percentage of their life to date.   Looking at it that way?  August was 2.56% of my three year old granddaughter’s life to date and I can remember when the summer seemed to last forever instead of being over as soon I as turn around.  And Christmas?  Imagine how far  away it must seem at 9.7% of her entire young  life.  But for me at  66, August was only 0.125% of my life’s journey to date and Christmas really seems ready to pounce on me before I can get ready for it

Another season ended – according to the meteorologists, who divide the year neatly into three months for each season, fall starts tomorrow on September 1st.  I actually never really had an issue with autumn beginning at the equinox because September seems to be such a hot month sometimes, but I will agree that by the time school is starting back up, fall should be in the air. 

Another third of 2016 has slid away into the shades of history, and exactly a third of  2016 stretches ahead…..


0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Wednesday, August 31, 2016

some rules are made to be broken

Today is the 3rd day of the 35th week, the 30th day of the 8th month [and no, I don’t mean the song], the 243rd day of 2016, and: 
  • Frankenstein Day – in  1797 Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was born in London
  • International Cabernet Sauvignon Day
  • International Day of the Disappeared of Day of The Victims of Enforced Disappearances
  • International Whale Shark Day
  • National Beach Day
  • National Grief Awareness Day
  • National Holistic Pet Day
  • National Toasted Marshmallow Day
  • Slinky Day
  • Touch-A-Heart Tuesday
on this day in history, in 526 King Theoderic the Great died of dysentery at Ravenna; his daughter Amalasuntha took power as regent for her 10-year-old son Athalaric. In 1835 the city of Melbourne was founded.  In 1836 the city of Houston was founded by Augustus Chapman Allen and John Kirby Allen.  In 1909 the Burgess Shale fossils were discovered by Charles Doolittle Walcott.  In 1963 the red phone, the Moscow–Washington hotline between the leaders of the US and the USSR, went into operation.  In 1984 the Space Shuttle Discovery took off on its maiden voyage.



And altho I probably will put away the white after this weekend, I have been reminded  that the fashion police aren’t quite as strong as Serial Mom would like you to think….




0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Tuesday, August 30, 2016

the last Monday in August

Today is the 2nd day in the 35th week, the 29th day of the 8th month, the 242nd day of 2016, and: 
  • According to Hoyle Day
  • Chop Suey Day
  • Independence Day: Brazil from Portugal in 1825
  • Individual Rights Day
  • International Day Against Nuclear Tests
  • Lemon Juice Day
  • More Herbs, Less Salt Day
  • Motorist Consideration Monday
  • National Sarcoidosis Awareness Day
  • National Swiss Winegrowers Day
  • National Whiskey Sour Day
 On this day in 708 copper coins were minted in Japan for the first time (Traditional Japanese date: August 10, 708).  In 1728 the city of Nuuk in Greenland was founded as the fort of Godt-Haab by the royal governor Claus Paarss.  In 1758 the first American Indian reservation was established, at Indian Mills, New Jersey.  In 1831 Michael Faraday discovered electromagnetic induction.  In 1869 the Mount Washington Cog Railway, the world's first mountain-climbing rack railway, opened.  In 1871 Emperor Meiji ordered the abolition of the han system and the establishment of prefectures as local centers of administration. (Traditional Japanese date: July 14, 1871).  In 1885 Gottlieb Daimler filed a patent for the world's first internal combustion motorcycle, the Reitwagen.  In 1895 the Rugby league was founded by 22 clubs at a meeting in the George Hotel, Huddersfield. In 1898 the Goodyear tire company was founded.  In 1911 Ishi, considered the last Native American to make contact with European Americans, emerged from the wilderness of NE California.  In 1922 the first radio advertisement was broadcast on WEAF-AM in New York City.  In 1949 the Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb, known as First Lightning or Joe 1, at Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan.  In 1958 the US Air Force Academy opened in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  1965 the Gemini V spacecraft landed in the Atlantic ocean.  In 1966 the Beatles performed their last concert before paying fans at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.  And in 2016 NASA Voyager is 18 hrs 49 mins 34 secs of light-travel time from Earth (2016:242:120000:1L)
 
The last Monday of the summer…   Well if you are one of those whom the fashion police have convinced that summer ends on Labor Day.  Yup, it is that time of year when you put away the white – no more white pants, white skirts, white shoes, white hats, or white pocketbooks.  It is also time to put away all those straw items [hats and handbags, for example] as well, as well as all those light florals and pastels.  


0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Monday, August 29, 2016

SATURDAY!

Whether your idea of a fun summer Saturday is



   or   



Enjoy your day!



Me?  I'm staying inside with the A/C cranked up and I have my weekend all planned....












0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Saturday, August 27, 2016

what do you want more of?

Today is the 6th day of the 34th week, the 26th day of the 8th month, the 239th day of 2016 [with only 120 shopping days left until Christmas], and: 
  • Forgive Your Foe Friday
  • Make Your Own Luck Day
  • Musical Yoga Day
  • National Cherry Popsicle Day
  • National Dog Day
  • National WebMistress Day
  • National Toilet Paper Day
  • World Daffodil Day
  • Women's Equality Day -- in 1920 the 19th amendment to US Constitution, giving women the right to vote, took effect.
On this day in 1071 the Seljuq Turks defeated the Byzantine army at Manzikert.  In 1498 Michelangelo was commissioned to carve the Pietà.  In 1748  the first Lutheran denomination in North America, the Pennsylvania Ministerium, was founded in Philadelphia.  In 1768, Captain James Cook sets sail from England on board HMS Endeavour. In 1778 the first recorded ascent of Triglav, the highest mountain in Slovenia was completed.  In 1789 The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was approved by the National Constituent Assembly of France.  In 1791 John Fitch was granted a United States patent for the steamboat.  1821 the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, was officially opened.  1994: a man was given the world's first battery-operated heart at the Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire, England.

Whenever I get contacted by a headhunter, I have to stop and think about what I want to do.

I reflect on what keeps me in my current position.  Career-wise?  This place is not good for me – I do not have a title or the staff, and as “the” support person, I find myself in the role of office manager and administrative assistant far too often.  That does tighten my jaws now and then as I am also the lone female of our little six-person office and I cannot totally acquit my male co-workers of sexism even as I worry about my own hypersensitivity.   Job security?  Working for a small business always carries a high risk of failure – we are indeed totally dependent on the existence of our President [affectionately known as bossman in these pages], on his heath and performance,  and the ability of our owners [the five Credit Unions who are equity owners] to stay solvent  as well as the standard business risks of the  regional market vicissitudes and the fluctuating economy.   And I will admit that I enjoyed managing work flows VS doing the tasks.  Money-wise?  As I have commented far too often, unemployed and worried about the job prospects hereabouts, I took a 20% cut in pay to come here back in 2009.  While I my salary has increased, and there have been bonuses,  I am still well behind what I should be making at this point.  When I hear of a job that offers me a 45% increase, I pay attention!  It would certainly beef up the 401K contributions and the Social Security benefit calculation [which is done on the last three years before you retire] and pay off my bills. 



On the other hand?  Currently I only commute for an hour, hour and a half each day. I only work about eight hours a day and bossman is very easy-going with leave as long as the work gets done.  I don’t deal with any corporate politics and I like the people that I work with.  And because we very seldom see any foot traffic in our office, dress is very casual [just no jeans].  And larger organizations downsize all the time [last one in, first one out, neh?] and they too run the risk of merger/acquisition – so I don’t see any beneficial increase in job security. 

The biggest factor for me in this decision is time:  It will be daily four hours commuting [unless I go through the expense of moving to Northern VA] and would mean either having to get a new car or paying other transportation costs,  And in a corporate environment, the working day at the VP level is close to a ten hour day, which means not only would I be rolling out at the crack of dawn, I wouldn’t be getting home until around 9PM each evening.  I added up the hours spent with the commute and figured out that it would entail of  56% increase of time allocated to work.  Assuming the PTO benefits are similar, at the proposed position income?  I would actually be making $2.80 an hour less than I do now, although by allocating more hours to work, I can indeed make more money.

So it comes down to this:  am I willing to change my lifestyle so work takes up a 56% more of my waking hours [or go through the pain and expense of relocation, then it would only be a 22% increase]  so that I can make more money on the off chance I will be able to retire in 10 years?


 Nope.  Now if the House of the Mouse offered me the same deal, I might snap it up, but thank you very much, I’ll stay put.

What is more vital to you, time or money?



0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Friday, August 26, 2016



Today is the 4th day of the 34th week, the 24th day of the 8th month, the 237th day of 2016 [and there are only 122 shopping days left until Christmas], and: 
  • Can Opener Day – wow opening cans before there was a can opener must’ve been…  interesting, neh?
  • Independence Day -- Ukraine from the Soviet Union in 1991
  • International Day Against Intolerance, Discrimination and Violence Based on Musical Preferences, Lifestyle and Dress Code
  • International Strange Music Day ((define “strange”))
  • National Knife Day
  • National Peach Pie Day
  • National Waffle or Waffle Iron Day
  • Pluto Demoted Day – now they are going after super novas too!
  • Shooting Star Day
  • Vesuvius Day -- (note: this traditional date has been challenged, and many scholars believe that the event occurred on October 24 – ah the solidity of historical “facts”!)
  • Wayzgoose Day  -  tied to the feast day of  Bartholomew the Apostle and one of those days that celebrate the ending of summer, this one specific to printers and books it would appear
  • Weather Complaint Day
  • William Wilberforce Day
On this day in 49 BC Julius Caesar's general Gaius Scribonius Curio was defeated in the Battle of the Bagradas by the Numidians and committed suicide to avoid capture.  In 79 Mount Vesuvius erupted and buried the cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Stabiae in volcanic ash.  In 394 the Graffito of Esmet-Akhom, the latest known inscription in Egyptian hieroglyphs, was written.  In 1456 the printing of the Gutenberg Bible was completed.  In 1690 Job Charnock of the East India Company established a factory in Calcutta, an event formerly considered the founding of the city until the Calcutta High Court ruled that the city has no birthday in 2003.  In 1875 Captain Matthew Webb became the first person to swim the English Channel.  In 1891 Thomas Edison patented the motion picture camera.  In 1909 workers started pouring concrete for the Panama Canal.  In 1932 Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly across the United States non-stop (from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey in about 19 hours).  In 1968 France became the world's fifth thermonuclear power as it exploded a hydrogen bomb in the South Pacific.  In 1995 Microsoft Windows 95 was released to the public in North America.  In 2006 the International Astronomical Union (IAU) redefined the term "planet" such that Pluto is now considered a "dwarf planet".

There are times when you just cannot stop and take a picture, not even in this day and age of smart phones.  This morning, while stopped in traffic, I was gazing at a low flowering tree and one branch just hung there in perfect relief against the dark foliage about it.  The air was clear, the light was refulgent, the flowers fully opened, the leaves varying from full green to dried looking and it was just a vignette to take your breath away.  And then, before I could move or think to grab my iPhone, the traffic moved and the moment was lost forever….   except  for the vivid imprint in my mind.  What I saw was apparently a pale pink hydrangea peegee shrub [altho it looked like a tree to me] growing in the wild.
 
 
 
I remember a similar incident from about 24 years ago, long before the advent of phones taking pictures.  I was commuting to work one winter morning, going the back roads from Randallstown to Ellicott City even though there had been a fresh snowfall.  I always used the back roads even in bad weather to avoid the traffic and because I have a lot more confidence in my ability to drive in bad conditions than I do my fellow travelers.   It was that gentle part of the morning when dawn was just lightening the sky,  and I came around a curve and stopped.  Just stopped.  [It was pretty safe to do that in that place since it was very seldom travelled and I was the only car about]  There before me was a solitary pine tree right next to the road, about 6’ tall, that the property owner had decorated with Christmas lights.  There was nothing near it, and the lights were glowing softly on the fresh snow and I rolled down my window and breathed in the fresh air and stared at it, wishing with all my heart that I had a camera.  I can close my eyes and still see that image in my mind’s eye and feel the calm and awe of the beauty of that moment wash over me, replete with the gentle sounds of morning coming….  The tree stayed decorated for a couple of weeks and I always admired it when I passed, but that fleeting, crepuscular moment never occurred again. 
 
More than a memory, It is possible that a picture wouldn’t do these moment justice either – a snapshot no matter how carefully and artfully captured does not include the sounds, the smells, the feel.  And the word pictures I have tried to share do not adequately convey the impact of these moments now frozen in time forever, outside time and space, and irrevocably a part of what makes me ME.  
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Wednesday, August 24, 2016

how rude

Today is the 3rd day of the 34th week, the 23rd day of the 8th month, the 236th day of 2016 [with only 123 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • Buttered Corn Day
  • Day For The Remembrance of The Slave Trade & Its Abolition
  • European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism [AKA Black Ribbon Day]
  • Hug Your Sweetheart Day
  • International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition
  • National Spongecake Day
  • Ride the Wind Day
  • Valentino Day – in 1926 the silent film star Rudolph Valentino died at age 31.
On this day in 30 BC, after the successful invasion of Egypt, Octavian executed Marcus Antonius Antyllus, eldest son of Mark Antony, and Caesarion, the last king of the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt and only child of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra.  In 79 Mount Vesuvius began stirring, on the feast day of Vulcan [the Roman god of fire].   In 1541 French explorer Jacques Cartier lands near what will become Quebec City in his third voyage to Canada.   In 1614 the University of Groningen was established in the Dutch Republic.  In 1904 the automobile tire chain was patented.  In 1948 the World Council of Churches was formed.  In 1966 the Lunar Orbiter 1 took the first photograph of Earth from orbit around the Moon.  In 1977 the Gossamer Condor won the Kremer prize for human powered flight.  In 1989, in what is called the Singing Revolution, two million people from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania stood on the Vilnius–Tallinn road, holding hands.  In 1990 West Germany and East Germany announced they will reunite on October 3.  In 1991 Tim Berners-Lee opened the World Wide Web (WWW) to new users.  In 2000 The first season finale of the reality show "Survivor" aired on CBS, with contestant Richard Hatch winning the $1 million prize. 2007 the skeletal remains of Russia's last royal family members Alexei Nikolaevich, Tsarevich of Russia, and his sister Grand Duchess Anastasia, were discovered near Yekaterinburg, Russia.

In case you haven’t noticed, this presidential campaign has become very emotional and polarizing.  My social media pages have filled up with stories about both of the major party’s candidates, and it is a toss-up to see how much vitriol and hate , how many wild claims of corruption and depravity, how often the motives and intelligence of these two individuals can be questioned.  There is no discussion, no comparison of issues, no listing of pros and cons, no middle ground – you either believe that Trump or that Hillary is the answer [I have no idea why we use his last name but her first] and that the election of anyone but your chosen candidate will spell the end of life as we know it.  I will admit that I have been somewhat startled by friends who declare their allegiance in no uncertain terms as they post the articles and links that support their chosen standard-bearer [sometimes I want to say:  SRSLY?  You are okay with someone saying THAT?].  .On their part,  those looking at my feeds wonder why I have stopped “liking” or sharing posts and speculate that perhaps I have stopped reading or following them

I haven’t.  I see the political commentary you are posting/sharing.  I am okay with you doing so;  I am just not contributing to it, just as when I reflect on what happened on this day in history, I am blanking out the wars and disasters.  No I am not going to sit home and let others decide the fate of my country, I will vote in November.  No I am not trying to rewrite or sanitize the past, I am trying to capture the bits and pieces that usually get left out.   And no, if you know me well enough you know that I am always up for a rousing discussion or even an intense disagreement.  This is MY online space, MY 2nd Life, and while quite a bit of life is outside the realm of my control or even the sphere of my influence, I do have control over this and I choose to be gentile. Who knows?  Maybe if enough folks do so, it will become a trend!  


0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Tuesday, August 23, 2016

“Spare the rod, spoil the child.”

Today is the 2nd day of the 34th week [did you know that technically some years have 53 weeks in them?], the 22nd day of the 8th month, the 235th day of 2016, and: 
  • National Be an Angel Day
  • National Eat a Peach Day
  • National Pecan Torte Day
  • National Tooth Fairy Day
  • Southern Hemisphere Hoodie Hoo Day  [On this winter day, people go out at noon, wave their hands over their heads and chant "Hoodie-Hoo". It is a day to chase away winter blahs, and bring in spring.  In the northern hemisphere it is usually on February 20th]
  • Take Your Cat To The Vet Day
On this day, in 392 Arbogast had Eugenius elected Western Roman Emperor.  In 565 the first reported sighting of a monster in Loch Ness, Scotland by Saint Columba [the patron-saint of the city of Derry].  In 1639 Madras (now Chennai) India, was founded by the British East India Company on a sliver of land bought from local Nayak rulers.  In 1654 Jacob Barsimson, the first known Jewish immigrant to America, arrived in New Amsterdam. In 1770 James Cook named and landed on Possession Island, claiming the east coast of Australia for Britain as New South Wales.  Although I usually avoid stories of war and disasters, in 1849 the first air raid in history was launched by Austria --pilotless balloons against the city of Venice.  In 1864 12 nations [but four of them were later consolidated into Germany] signed the First Geneva Convention [which only had 10 articles]. In 1902 the Cadillac Motor Company was founded and US President Theodore Roosevelt became the first United States chief executive to ride in an automobile in public during a parade at Hartford, Connecticut, in a Columbia electric car. In 1950 Althea Gibson became the first black competitor in international tennis. 

I was brought up with parents that believed in whupping – a step far beyond spanking.  As a result, and because I bought into the idea that kids needed to be forced to do what was good for them, I too spanked my two kids.  In fact, I had to ratchet that back because IMNSHO, I crossed the line between punishment and abuse, something I have talked about with both my son [who was the main sufferer as that brat knew exactly how to push Mom’s buttons] and my daughter.  And I must say, neither of them turned out badly – I am very proud of both of them and we are still very much in touch.

My daughter and my son-in-law have opted to bring up their children very differently, as they have carefully explained to me because it is their expectation that I will abide by their wishes when their daughters are with me.  Their decision [as I understand it] is based on two arguments:  [1] you cannot teach children that it is wrong to hit others when you are hitting them, and [2] kids do not need to be forced, they need to be led. 

Saturday I watched them implement their solution.  It isn’t easy, but they did it.  The 3year old had a meltdown over getting dressed.  Mommy took over from Grandmom, then stopped and asked for Daddy’s help when she started to lose her own temper.  Daddy took over,  got his daughter’s attention, was able to get her to calm down by doing yoga breathing with her [had to do this twice], was able to forestall delaying tactics by counting, and got through the situation without losing his temper, and after 20 minutes,  the little girl was dressed.  Granted it took a while and my way would’ve been quicker, but the goal was accomplished without yelling or screaming or spanking and with the kid’s cooperation, albeit rather sullenly given, and the entire incident was forgotten   Everybody moved on and there was no unpleasant, lingering residue of tension. 

I was impressed.

No spanking is not the same as no discipline, neh?  I think that the boundaries, and the difference between right and wrong, are being just as firmly established without the use of “the rod”.


0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Monday, August 22, 2016

blooming where planted

Today is the 6th day of the 33rd week, the 19th day of the 8th month, the 232nd day of 2016, and: 
  • 'Black Cow' Root Beer Float Day -- 1893 by Frank J. Wisner, Cripple Creek Brewing Co
  • Independence Day --  Afghanistan from Britain in 1919
  • International Orangutan Day
  • National Aviation Day
  • National Hot and Spicy Food Day
  • National Men's Grooming Day
  • National Potato Day
  • National Sandcastle and Sculpture Day
  • World Humanitarian Day
  • World Photo Day
On this day in 295 BC the first temple to Venus [Roman goddess of love, beauty and fertility] was dedicated by Quintus Fabius Maximus Gurges during the Third Samnite War.  In 1561 Mary, Queen of Scots returned to Scotland after spending 13 of her 18 years in France.  In 1848 the New York Herald breaks the news to the US East Coast of the gold rush in California (news was a bit slow in those days cause the rush started in January).  In 1861 first ascent of Weisshorn, fifth highest summit in the Alps, by John Tyndall.  In 1934, a plebiscite in Germany approved the vesting of sole executive power in Adolf Hitler as Fuhrer.  In 1960 the Soviet Union launched Korabl-Sputnik 2 with the dogs Belka and Strelka, 40 mice, two rats and a variety of plants.  In 1964 Syncom 3, the first geostationary communication satellite, was launched.  In 2004 Google went public.



Every day in my personal journal I do  have a quote that got my attention while I was reading online.  Today’s quote is: “Such as are your habitual thoughts; such also will be the character of your mind; for the soul is dyed by the thoughts.” ~ Marcus Aurelius.  I’ve been reading a lot about the power of negative self-talk these days, and I agree that those tapes we have running in our heads usually aren’t saying nice stuff, but I have also been reading a lot about the limits of positive thinking [or feeling] too



You see, there are those who firmly believe that if you are poor, it is because you think of yourself as disadvantaged with the unspoken codicil that somehow you have caused or participated in your inability to make money.  I personally find this a very insulting, Calvinistic attitude that makes me want to snarl at those who pontificate on that theme because no amount of positive thinking is going to overcome income inequity.   No amount of positive vibes is going to change the fact that most of us do not have any control over our economic realities and we are one accident, one illness, one job loss, one insurance claim, one housing cost increase, away from not being able to manage day-to-day expenses.  Last night as I drove home from picking up Panda at the vet, I saw a horrific accident that involved several cars that were smashed up, snarling traffic on 29 as fire engines [2] and ambulances [4] and police responded.  Those drivers and passengers went in the blink of an eye from everyday life to disaster, and after those who survive are able to start the road to recovery?  At some point the thought of “OMG how am I going to pay for all this?” is going to hit and crash into them with catastrophic effect and no amount of positivity is going to help them. 



I drove home very thoughtfully, thinking quietly like many others who slipped past the one lane that was left open, “there but for the grace of God, go I.”  This is what none of our politicians seem to understand as they go on and on about conservatism and socialism and terrorism et al  because not one of them live in this world – they are too protected by wealth, privilege, and position.  Living like this is like walking a tightrope strung over a chasm without a safety net and it is wearing on the body and the spirit. 

 

 

 

The trick is to not spend our time in anger or resentment or despair, but to choose to enjoy being alive while we can – celebrate good things, complete with dagnabit moments.




0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Friday, August 19, 2016

the full moon

Today is the 5th day of the 33rd week, the 18th day of the 8th month, the 231st day of 2016, and: 
  • Birth Control Pills Day
  • Helium Discovery Day –  discovered by French astronomer Pierre Janssen in 1868  
  • Mail Order Catalog Day
  • National Bad Poetry Day
  • National Badge Ribbon Day
  • National Ice Cream Pie Day
  • National Soft Ice Cream Day – my fav spot hereabouts is Soft Stuff
  • Serendipity Day
On this day in 684 – Umayyad partisans defeated the supporters of Ibn al-Zubayr at the Battle of Marj Rahit, cementing Umayyad control of Syria.  In 1227 the Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan died.  In 1572 Huguenot King Henry III of Navarre married Margaret of Valois, in a supposed attempt to reconcile Protestants and Catholics.  In 1587 Virginia Dare, granddaughter of Governor John White of the Colony of Roanoke, becomes the first English child born in the Americas.  In 1590 John White returned from a supply trip to England to find his settlement deserted.  In 1783 a huge fireball meteor is seen across Great Britain as it passed over the east coast.  1903 German engineer Karl Jatho allegedly flew his self-made, motored gliding airplane four months before the first flight of the Wright brothers. In 1920 the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified, guaranteeing women's suffrage. 

The illuminating Full Moon clocked in at 5:28AM EDT
this morning.   It is known as the “Sturgeon Moon” because the sturgeon of the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain were most readily caught during this Full Moon. It is also known as the “Full Green Corn Moon,” the “Wheat Cut Moon,”  the “Moon When All Things Ripen,” or the “Blueberry Moon”.  According to astrologists, this is a time to send out healing thoughts and prayers to humanity. The arrival of compassionate Pisces Moon (12:35PM EDT) swings the compass of life decidedly toward altruism and empathy – recommendations include:  being extra generous with hugs and kisses; assisting elders and shut-ins with difficult chores; irrigating your garden; and enjoying a soulful walk by a favorite waterway.



*props chin on hand*  actually that sounds rather nice....
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Thursday, August 18, 2016

it ain't easy.....

Today is the 4th day of the 33rd week, the 17th day of the 8th month, the 230th day of 2016, and: 
  • Balloon Airmail Day
  • I Love My Feet Day
  • Independence Day – Indonesia from Japan in 1945.
  • Meaning of "Is" Day
  • National #2 Pencil Day
  • National Black Cat Appreciation Day
  • National Medical Dosimetrist Day
  • National Thrift Shop Day
  • National Vanilla Custard Day
On this day in 309 Pope Eusebius was banished by the Emperor Maxentius to Sicily, where he eventually died of a hunger strike.  In 1498 Cesare Borgia, son of Pope Alexander VI, became the first person in history to resign the cardinalate. In 1560 Protestantism was established as the national religion in Scotland.  In 1585 the first group of colonists sent by Sir Walter Raleigh under the charge of Ralph Lane lands in the New World to create Roanoke Colony on Roanoke Island, off the coast of present-day North Carolina.  In 1883 the Dominican Republic's national anthem, Himno Nacional, is first performed. In 1908 Fantasmagorie, the first animated cartoon, created by Émile Cohl, was shown in Paris, France.  In 1958 Pioneer 0, America's first attempt at lunar orbit, was launched using the first Thor-Able rocket and failed [first attempted launch beyond Earth orbit].  In 1970 Venera 7 launched -- it became the first spacecraft to successfully transmit data from the surface of another planet, (Venus).  In 1977 the Soviet icebreaker Arktika became the first surface ship to reach the North Pole.  In 1978 Double Eagle II became the first balloon to cross the Atlantic Ocean [landing in Miserey, France near Paris, 137 hours after leaving Presque Isle, Maine].  In 1982 the first compact discs (CDs) were released to the public in Germany. In 1987 Rudolf Hess, the last member of Adolf Hitler's inner circle, died at Spandau prison [he had been the only inmate for 21 years] in West Berlin at age 93, apparently a suicide. In 2016 NASA Voyager is 18 hrs 47 mins 14 secs of light-travel time from Earth (2016:230:120000:1L)

The comment about the Pope’s son resigning from his position as Cardinal got my attention.  First of all, the fact that he was the son of a Pope – yes for those of you who are wondering, the Pope is a priest and yes they are supposed to be celibate [things got a mite corrupt and loosey-goosey back in the Middle Ages, obviously].   Second that he resigned -- Cardinals who choose to leave are called “dimissionary cardinals” and there have been 23 recorded through the centuries.  Back in the 15th century, the College of Cardinals was much smaller [only around 30], so the resignation was quite a big deal.  Nowadays the number of Cardinals is around 200, but a resignation would still have a big impact – and there hasn’t been a Pope elected who was not a Cardinal since 1378.    And the dispossession of the Pope got me to thinking about them – usually they die in their position, but apparently the number who “retired” before Benedict XVI is in question.  The early Church records are in disarray, and the Holy See was often a pawn of political forces [and admittedly, sometimes the instigator and/or manipulator], but apparently there were at least seven who chose to retire.   Although being the Pope, like the Caliph, isn’t exactly a “job”, it isn’t like the Dalia Lama, who is born or incarnated into his role, neh? 

One role that none of us can resign or leave is who we are and we have to make sure how we define ourselves is not limited to those roles that we can leave [baseball player, cop, CEO, etc].   And some days?  It’s just not easy being ourself, neh?  That is why Grover is my favorite character from Sesame Street, he often sighed “it’s not easy being Grover” and I definitely can relate.  


0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Wednesday, August 17, 2016

enjoying getting older

Today is the 3rd day of the 33rd week, the 16th day of the 8th month, the 229th day of 2016 [with only 130 shopping days left until Christmas], and: 
  • Independence Day:  Cyprus from the UK and Gabon from France both in 1960
  • Joe Miller's Joke Day
  • National Airborne Day
  • National Bratwurst Day
  • National No SpongeBob
  • National Roller Coaster Day
  • National Rum Day
  • National Tell a Joke Day
  • True Love Forever Day [is anyone else rather amused that this is listed right after “tell a joke”?]
  • Wave at Surveillance Day
In 1 BC Wang Mang consolidated his power and was declared Marshal of State -- Emperor Ai of Han, who had died the previous day, had no heirs.  In 1858 US President James Buchanan inaugurated the new transatlantic telegraph cable by exchanging greetings with Queen Victoria in the UK [a weak signal forced a shutdown of the service after a few weeks].  In 1913 Tōhoku Imperial University of Japan (modern day Tohoku University) became the first university in Japan to admit female students.  In 1916 the Migratory Bird Treaty between Canada and the US was signed.  In 1930 the first color sound cartoon, called Fiddlesticks, was made by Ub Iwerks.  In 1954 the first issue of Sports Illustrated was published.  In 1962  Ringo Starr replaces Pete Best of The Beatles.  In 1977 Elvis Presley died at Graceland Mansion at age 42.  In 1989 a solar flare from the Sun created a geomagnetic storm that affected micro chips, leading to a halt of all trading on Toronto's stock market.

I was recently asked why the extreme gap between the very first item I found and the next –  of course a lot of things happened in between!  Wars.  Insurrections.  Battles.  Disasters.  Politics.  All kinds of stuff that I rather arbitrarily have chosen to ignore….  So this window into today in History obviously reflects my own personal bias – your mileage may vary.

One question I ask myself now and then is whether or not I spend too much time alone at home.   I have been challenged lately to find local [translation:   “not part of my 2nd Life but face-to-face”] groups and activities that I can do with folks my age [translation:   “not with folks that are closer to my kids’ ages than mine”] – a comment that rather struck me as an exhortation to  “act my age”, which is something my mother used to say to me constantly as I was growing up.  Setting aside the question of what acting my age entails, and ignoring the cultural biases against those who are single [whether by choice or not], nevertheless the fact is that I lead a rather solitary existence outside of the work environs, so I started looking about.  Two ideas I had right off was to start singing in the church choir again and to check out ushering at the local theater in Olney, but I have yet to act on either thought.  Google “age appropriate activities” and you will find a slew of things for different developmental stages of kids.   Change that search to include “seniors” and what you find is a lot of articles about exercise and dementia, nursing homes and senior care facilities -- not much about cultural groups or clubs, and what there is, meets during the day because that is convenient for most, not so much for those of us working full-time though.  But if I keep putting off getting involved until I retire and have time, will I be able to form the support network then that I may need?  Am I not thinking ahead enough?  Am I in denial that I am getting older?

Quite frankly?  When I get home these days, I just do not feel like heading back out to “do” something.  Ditto on the weekends – I don’t feel the same drive that I used to feel to get out and about and be busy.  As for stretches of days off?  I wasn’t bored, and was  just beginning to look around the apartment yesterday and thinking about diving into the closet reorganization project….   I think I’ll put that “age appropriate activity” search on my to-do list for now, and worry about it later


0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Tuesday, August 16, 2016

half full

Today is the 7th day of the 32nd week, the 13th day of the 8th month, the 226th day of 2016 [with only 137 shopping days until Christmas], and:

  • Celebrate Your Lakes Day

  • Independence Day -- Central African Republic from France in 1960.
  • International Left-Handers Day
  • Middle Child Day
  • National Bowling Day  [do you bowl duckpins or ten pins?]
  • National Filet Mignon Day
  • National Garage Sale Day
In 29 BC Octavian holds the first of three consecutive triumphs in Rome to celebrate the victory over the Dalmatian tribes.  In 1913 Harry Brearley producee the first stainless steel by. In 1918 Opha May Johnson is the first woman to enlist in the US Marine Corps.  In 1942 Walt Disney's fifth full-length animated film, Bambi premiered at Radio City Music Hall in New York..  In 1954 Radio Pakistan broadcasts the "Qaumī Tarāna", the national anthem of Pakistan, for the first time.  In 1961 the Berlin Wall was built.  In 1997 the first episode of the American animated series South Park premiered on Comedy Central. In 2016 @NASAVoyager is 18 hrs 46 mins 29 secs of light-travel time from Earth (2016:226:120000:1L)



So, I noticed that the quarter moon was back on the 10th, and the moon will be full on the 18th, so I went to rummaging to find out when the "half moon" is.  Turns out there is no "half", for some unknown and unknowable reason, we call it the quarter moon when it is half illuminated and a crescent moon when it is only a quarter illuminated.  



   Now I ask you, does that make any sense?



And while we are the subject of watching the skies, did you ever wonder what shooting stars look like from space?  The International Space Station posted a video that shows you  



Stay cool out there!
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Saturday, August 13, 2016

dagnabit

Today is the 5th day of the 32nd week, the 11th day of the 8th month, the 224th day of 2016, and: 
  • Annual Medical Checkup Day
  • Independence Day -- Chad from France in 1960
  • Ingersoll Day
  • National Raspberry Bombe Day
  • National Raspberry Tart Day
  • Play in the Sand Day
  • Presidential Joke Day
  • Son and Daughter Day
In 3114 BC the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, used by several pre-Columbian Mesoamerican civilizations [notably the Mayans], begins.  In 1929 Babe Ruth became the first baseball player to hit 500 home runs with a home run at League Park in Cleveland, Ohio.  In 1934 the first civilian prisoners arrived at the Federal prison on Alcatraz Island.  In 1942 actress Hedy Lamarr and composer George Antheil received a patent for a Frequency-hopping spread spectrum communication system that later became the basis for modern technologies in wireless telephones and Wi-Fi.  In 1968 the last steam-hauled train runs on British Rail.  In 2015 for the first time in Major League Baseball history, all 15 home teams won their games [the prior record was 12 in 1914]. 



I have pondered out loud many times the onset of “dagnabit” moments.  To recap, these are the times when you throw caution to the winds, when you spend more than you should , splurging because  you work hard every single day and you deserve something – usually a special dinner with a gooey desert, or new clothes,  or a collectable that can only be found on eBay, or a trip – dagnabit!   Others can tsk tsk disapprovingly, pointing out virtuously that one should husband their resources and not splurge, but most of us have been there.



So my dagnabit moment is all about taking time off – I have the leave, things are slow at the moment and I get two short work weeks.  Even though I am not going anywhere or doing anything in particular…

 

 

 

I do indeed deserve this!
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Thursday, August 11, 2016

welcome to my LAS

Today is the 4th day of the 32nd week, the 10th day of the 8th month, the 223rd day of 2016, and: 
  • Independence Day --  Ecuador from Spain in 1809
  • International Biodiesel Day
  • National Duran Duran Appreciation Day – I still remember seeing Wild Boys on MTV
  • National Lazy Day
  • National Psychiatric Technician Appreciation Day
  • National S'mores Day
  • National Spoil Your Dog Day
  • Paul Bunyan Day  (also cited as  Feb 12 and Jun 28) -- James MacGillivray’s  account of the “Round River” in the Oscada Press wasprinted this day in 1906 is the oldest known printed story of the hero.
  • Skyscraper Appreciation Day
  • Smithsonian Day  -- in 1846 the Smithsonian Institution[I thought it was “Institute” not “Institution”] was chartered by the US Congress after English scientist James Smithson donated $500,000
  • World Lion Day
In 955 Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor, defeated the Magyars at the Battle of Lechfeld: , ending 50 years of Magyar invasion of the West.  In 1270 Yekuno Amlak took the imperial throne of Ethiopia, restoring the Solomonic dynasty to power after a 100-year Zagwe interregnum.  In 1519 Ferdinand Magellan's five ships set sail from Seville to circumnavigate the globe [the fleet made it; he died in the Philippines]. In 1675 the foundation stone of the Royal Greenwich Observatory in London, England was laid.  In 1792 Louis XVI of France is arrested and taken into custody as his Swiss Guards are massacred by the Parisian mob [the term 'the 10th of August' is widely used by historians as a shorthand for the storming of the Tuileries Palace and was the effective end of the French monarchy until it was restored in 1814].  In 1885 America's first commercially operated electric streetcar began operation in Baltimore.  In 1932 an 11 lb chondrite-type meteorite landed near the town of Archie in Cass County, Missouri in at least seven pieces.  In 1948 Candid Camera made its television debut ["SMILE! You're on..."] after being on radio for a year as Candid Microphone.  In 1962 Marvel Comics superhero Spider-Man made his debut in issue 15 of "Amazing Fantasy."  In 1990 the Magellan space probe reached Venus.  In 2003 the highest temperature ever recorded in the UK was reached at 38.5°C (101.3°F) in Kent, England -- the first time the UK recorded a temperature over 100°F (38°C).  In 2003 Yuri Malenchenko became the first person to get married in outer space. 

This is a public service announcement.

One of the constant struggles I have to explain to borrowers the impact of playing with that 10-day “grace period” before late charges are assessed.   Most folks think of that grace period as a freebie, but it is not [unless you are paying interest only that is].  You see, payments are indeed broken down “as billed” in most places – that means no matter when you make your payment, the principal and interest are applied with the same amounts as if you paid when the loan was due on the 1st so folks assume that there aren’t any penalties.  What actually happens?  Your finance charges increase.  You see, the loan accounting system figures out what the principal payment should’ve been and you are charged interest on the higher amount of principal outstanding for those 10 days.

Let’s do the math. 

Your payment is due on the 1st in the amount of $5K and you are billed for $3,000 in interest and $2,000 in principal at 5%.  You actually pay on the 10th, right before the late charge is levied and that is indeed how your payment is split.  However?  What happens is that the interest on $2K for 10 days accrues at  $0.28 per diem and your finance charge goes up by $2.77.  Doesn’t sound like much, does it?  But the next month you are billed for a month’s interest + $2.77 – and your principal doesn’t get reduced as quickly.  Over time [say five years] that build up, which is why the last payment is sometimes an unpleasant surprise.  The good news is that if you made your payment a day or two early, you actually reduce your finance charges because the whole calculation works in reverse – the LAS figures out how much interest was accrued on a lower amount of principal than originally projected and applies that savings to the next month, which reduces your principal a little more aggressively.

Of course, this really is obvious with the simple interest and mortgage loans [fully amortizing 20/360] loans banks and credit unions use.  Compound interest that credit card and finance companies use is a LOT more complicated and managing your finance charges more difficult as they charge interest on interest accrued.
 
 
 
I now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Wednesday, August 10, 2016

I"m sorry

Today is the 3rd day of the 32nd week, the 9th day of the 8th month, the 222nd day of 2016, and: 
  • Book Lovers Day
  • International Day of the World's Indigenous People
  • National Hand Holding Day
  • National Polka Day
  • National Rice Pudding Day
  • National Veep Day
It is incomprehensible to me that on this day  71 years ago, even after seeing the horrific wholesale destruction in Hiroshima, the United States dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki.

 

 

 

IMSNHO, FWIIW:  If we ever as a country had the moral high ground internationally [and I would argue that we did], it was irreparably lost then and there.  I deplore the first bombing but I can understand that the person who authorized it had no concept of what would actually follow, and therefore thought the ends justified the means – rationalizing that the war would cost far more in the way of lives, even if they were ignoring the fact that we were bombing hapless civilians.  But this second bomb? 

 

 

 

As a country, we need to bow our heads and ask forgiveness.  
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Tuesday, August 9, 2016

yup, it's Monday

Today is the 2nd day of the 32nd week, the 8th day of the 8th month, the 221st day of 2016, and: 
  • Assistance Dog Day
  • Happiness Happens Day – brought to you courtesy of  the Secret Society of Happy People [SOHP, founded in 1998], supporting people who want to share their happiness. Their mottos include “Happiness Happens” and “Don’t Even Think of Raining on My Parade”.
  • International Cat Day
  • National Dollar Day -- Congress established the US monetary system in 1786
  • National Frozen Custard Day
  • National Zucchini Day {AKA Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor's Porch Day]
  • Odie Day [Garfield’s pal]
  • The Date to Create
  • Victory Day --  the 2nd Monday in August used to be a federal holiday in the US from 1948 until 1975, celebrating the end of WWII in the Pacific.
In 870 King Louis the German and his half-brother Charles the Bald sign the Treaty of Meerssen, partitioning the Middle Frankish Kingdom into two larger east and west divisions -- what would become Germany and France.  In 1576 the cornerstone for Tycho Brahe's Uraniborg observatory was laid on the island of Hven. In 1709 Bartolomeu de Gusmão demonstrated the lifting power of hot air in an audience before the king of Portugal in Lisbon, Portugal.  In 1876 Thomas Edison patented his mimeograph.  In 1908 Wilbur Wright made his first pulic flight at a racecourse at Le Mans, France. In 1929 the German airship Graf Zeppelin began a round-the-world flight.  In 1963 in England, a gang of 15 train robbers steal £2.6 million in bank notes [known as the Great Train Robbery]. In 1969, at a zebra crossing in London, photographer Iain Macmillan takes the photo that becomes the cover of the Beatles album Abbey Road.  In 1974 US President Richard Nixon, in a nationwide television address, announced his resignation effective noon the next day.  In 2000 the Confederate submarine HL Hunley is raised to the surface after 136 years on the ocean floor and 30 years after its discovery by undersea explorer E. Lee Spence.

Apparently SOHP thinks there is a problem with folks not wanting to hear about other folk’s good news.  Seems a bit silly to me – why wouldn’t you want to learn about good things happening?  Jealousy?  Envy? Just general nay-saying?  An extension of the old saw “misery loves company” to mean that unless “I” am happy then no one could be?  I don’t know, I always took happy things that happen to someone else as a hopeful sign that good things can happen just as unexpectedly as bad ones

After all, even Mondays have a positive side, neh?


0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Monday, August 8, 2016

do you hear what I hear?

Today is the 1st day of the 32nd week, the 7th day of the 8th month, the 220th day of 2016, the approximate midpoint of summer in the Northern Hemisphere and of winter in the Southern Hemisphere, and:
  •  American Family Day
  • Beach Party Day
  • Friendship Day
  • International Forgiveness Day
  • National Doll Day
  • National Kids Day
  • National Lighthouse Day
  • National Sea Serpent Day
  • Particularly Preposterous Packaging Day
  • Professional Speakers Day
  • Purple Heart Day --  in 1782 George Washington ordered the creation of the Badge of Military Merit to honor soldiers wounded in battle. It is later renamed to the more poetic Purple Heart.
  • Raspberries 'n Cream Day
  • Sister's Day
In 322 BC Athens and Macedonia fought the Battle of Crannon -- Athens lost and the battle marked the end of city-state freedom from Macedonian hegemony. In 1944 IBM brought out the first program-controlled calculator, the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator (known best as the Harvard Mark I). In 1947 Thor Heyerdahl's balsa wood raft the Kon-Tiki, smashes into the reef at Raroia in the Tuamotu Islands after a 101-day, 7,000 kilometres (4,300 mi) journey across the Pacific Ocean in an attempt to prove that pre-historic peoples could have traveled from South America.  In 1974 French stuntman Philippe Petit walked a tightrope strung between the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center. 




"I know that you believe that you understood 

what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize 

that what you heard is not what I meant."

~ Robert McCloskey





Ran across this quote this morning and it triggered a memory....  In junior high school [8th grade actually], I stumbled upon a book in the library that changed forever how I thought about communication -- Language in Action by Hayakawa.    I didn't quite understand what I was reading back then of course, and I have had to go back and re-read that work a couple of times, but I grasped the essential fact of semantics, that words and phrases could mean different things to different people.  It was an eye-opener for that teenager and it is an insight that has actually kept me from acquiring even more emotional baggage than I did.  It led to my realization that "truth" was not immutable, that different versions of the same story did NOT mean that someone was lying because not only could they have perceived something differently, they could be communicating it differently.  I articulated it as "there are three sides to every story:  mine, yours, and what happened."  [in all fairness I have two exe's who disagree with that rather vociferously].  That led to a firmly held conviction that there is no such thing as an historical fact [a revelations shared by other historians] because even eye-witness accounts are suspect due to the limits of memory AND communication.



Something to think about the next time you are triggered by a comment online, a story you watched or read, a disconnect with a loved one, neh?



0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Sunday, August 7, 2016

on this day









71 years ago, the United States became the only country to use an atomic weapon and an entire city was obliterated








0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Saturday, August 6, 2016

rest VS recreation

Today is the 6th day of the 31st week, the 5th day of the 8th month, the 218th day of 2016 [with only 141 shopping days left until Christmas], and: 
  • Braham Pie Day or Homemade Pie Day
  • Green Peppers Day
  • Independence Day:  Upper Volta (Burkina Faso) from France in 1960
  • International Beer Day
  • International Traffic Light Day – in 1914 the first electric traffic light was installed in Cleveland, Ohio
  • National Oyster Day
  • National Underwear Day
  • Tomboy Tools Day
  • Twins Day
  • Work Like a Dog Day [note – that is “like” a dog, not “as” a dog so no slobbering]
In 25 Guangwu claims the throne as emperor, restoring the Han dynasty after the collapse of the short-lived Xin dynasty. In 1620 the Mayflower departed from Southampton, England on its first attempt to reach North America.  IN 1874 Japan launched its postal savings system, modeled after a similar system in the United Kingdom.  IN 1901 Peter O'Connor set the first  IAAF [International Association of Athletics Federations] recognized long jump world record of 24 ft 11.75 in (7.6137 m). The record will stand for 20 years.  In 1888 Bertha Benz drives from Mannheim to Pforzheim and back in the first long distance automobile trip [commemorated as the Bertha Benz Memorial Route in 2008].  IN 1925 Plaid Cymru was formed with the aim of disseminating knowledge of the Welsh language to keep it from dying out.  In 1926 Harry Houdini performed his greatest feat, spending 91 minutes in a sealed tank submerged in the swimming pool of New York's Hotel Shelton before escaping.  IN 1957 American Bandstand debuted on TV [ABC], originally hosted by Bob Horn.  In 1963 the United States, Britain and the Soviet Union signed a treaty in Moscow banning nuclear tests in the atmosphere, outer space and underwater.

For ten years, while I was married to my daughter’s father, we did the exact same thing every year for vacation – we went to Ocean City NJ and stayed with his parents in their condominium.  And we did nothing.   I mean there was crabbing and the pool and the walks on the Boardwalk, but his philosophy about vacation was that the purpose was to relax, not run around like a chicken with your head cut off doing stuff.  Evenings were for recharging from the day; weekends were for chores – with the result that we never went anywhere or DID anything.  For years while I was married to Frank the evenings, weekends and vacations were times to DO something – get out of the apartment [hang the chores], which usually involved driving somewhere if only to get a real egg custard [many trips to Harpers Ferry, but that place is gone now, alas], or get dinner, or just “get the stink blown off”.  That changed pretty drastically for evenings and weekends after Frank’s first stroke,  but vacation time was still travel time.

In the 12 years that I have lived alone, I have slowly stopped going out much, except for vacations – and even my vacations have become more leisurely paced with less “gotta do”.  Evenings and weekends have become times when I lollygag about – resting, reading, bopping about online, binge watching shows – as the hours just seem to evaporate.   There are times that is all I really want to do, anything else seems to be just more trouble than it is worth.  Stopped trying to join things and gave up on dating.  Haven’t been to a craft show or a flea market in ages and I don’t even wander through the mall anymore.  I bought tickets to the 50th Balticon – and didn’t go.  Movies that I want to see end up ignored until they come out on DVD [even the Disney flicks].   I now live closer to my friend Kit in DC than I ever have before, and I get over to her place less often than ever [citing the traffic volume].  

When I contrast this more recent behavior with the past when I would get cabin fever if inside for more than 24 hours, I am rather perplexed.  My energy levels appear to be low, but am I reinforcing a sedentary lifestyle by indulging myself and “resting” so much?  Is working taking that much more out of me these days that I don’t any reserves left for “my” time?  Am I just getting old?  Would I feel more energetic if I was out and about more?   Or have I finally realized the charm of a quiet life?


0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Friday, August 5, 2016

shooting the breeze

Today is the 5th day of the 31st week, the 4th day of the 8th month, the 217th day of 2016 [with only 142 shopping days left before Christmas], and: 
  • Feast Day of Saint Sithney, patron saint of mad dogs [no word on the Englishmen who go out in the noonday sun are covered too]
  • Hooray for Kids Day
  • National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day
  • National IPA Day or India Pale Ale Beer Day
  • National White Wine Day
  • Single Working Women's Day
  • Social Security Day
  • US Coast Guard Day -- a newly passed tariff act created the Revenue Cutter Service (the forerunner of the United States Coast Guard) in 1790
In 367, at the age of 8, Gratian, son of Roman Emperor Valentinian I, was named co-Augustus by his father. In 1693 it is traditionally thought that Dom Perignon "invented" champagne -- or at least developed the techniques used to perfect sparkling wine.  In 1789, in France, members of the National Constituent Assembly took an oath to end feudalism and abandon their privileges [however feudalism lingered on in parts of Central and Eastern Europe as late as the 1850s and Russia didn't abolish serfdom until 1861]. In 1902 the Greenwich foot tunnel under the River Thames opened.  In 1906 Central railway station in Sydney opened.  In 1944 a tip from a Dutch informer leads the Gestapo to a sealed-off area in an Amsterdam warehouse, where they find and arrest Anne Frank, her family, and four others.  In 2007 NASA's Phoenix spacecraft was launched. 

A couple of days ago I wanted to make plans with a friend I have known for decades – we had started in email but it just seemed that we wanted to go over different options and considerations that were too complicated to keep writing.  Without thinking about it much, before I called?  I not only checked via IM what would be a convenient time, I verified if she preferred the land line or the cell phone.   It isn’t just my friends, I check with my kids before I interrupt their lives with a phone call – in this day of texts, IMs and email it would appear that the phone call has become as demanding and intrusive as “just dropping by” was back in the day.  How did that happen?  And why?

It has been a long time since folks just sauntered over to a neighbor’s house and plopped down on the porch to chat a spell, or a friend decided while they were out on a drive that they would pop in to talk and maybe play some cards.  I was there at times when folks would just pop in and I remember that easy sense of camaraderie.  My grandmothers had friends and socializing like that; especially around the holidays, and they always had goodies on hand for entertaining and snacking.  My parents did not but many of their contemporaries still had some of those easy-going, casual visitors.   I did not – not even when I was a homeowner rather than a renter – and didn’t just stop by even with family very often, but there were times when we arranged get-togethers that weren’t quite parties but just a dinner and a visit.  But the phone?  I would and did call often – just picked it up and called back then.  If the party on the other end couldn’t talk right that moment, they told me that they would get back later [and they usually did], but it was a casual reaching out to chat, not a planned call.   Of course back in the day, it wasn’t a phone that was on your person wherever you are, it was sitting on a table in a room of your house [you might have one in the kitchen or upstairs in the bedroom too] and you may or may not have a phone answering machine that would let someone know you weren’t going to pick up

I’m not quite sure when that changed – was when the phone became more important to us than our wallet or maybe when we started cutting the cord and dispensing with land lines?  I’m not quite sure it has changed for everyone or not – after all, I did lose a couple of years of easy converse after the cone of silence descended when Frank died.  But it appears to me the phone has become “push” technology now, whereas the written message or text is considered less invasive and therefore politer and more respectful.  As for visitors?  Why decorate for the holidays, or even keep it straight, when you are the only person who ever sees your place?  When did the boundaries around our personal and family spaces become so….  Set?  Firm? Obvious? Defined?  Exclusive?

I guess you could make a case for tech keeping us apart.  On the other hand, the ability to drop a quick note to someone and have them respond in a couple of sentences over a variety of social media and varying platforms [including “worlds”] has made keeping in touch much easier and more consistent, neh?  But sometimes?  As much as I love my 2nd Life,  I wish I could just sit on a front porch on a glider like Grandmom used to and have someone meander by to shoot the breeze for a little while, visit for a bit …..


0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Thursday, August 4, 2016

lesson learned

Today is the 4th day of the 31st week, the 3rd day of the 8th month, the 216th day of 2016 [with only 143 shopping days left until Christmas], and: 
  • Airplane Crop Duster Day
  • Esther Day
  • Friendship Day
  • Grab Some Nuts Day
  • Independence Day:   Niger from France in 1960.
  • International Albarino Day
  • National Watermelon Day
In 8 the Roman Empire general Tiberius defeated the Dalmatae on the river Bathinus. In 1492 Christopher Columbus sets sail from Palos de la Frontera,  Spain.  In 1527 the first known letter from North America is sent by John Rut while at St. John's, Newfoundland.  In 1933 the Mickey Mouse Watch was introduced for the price of $2.75 [which would be $38.29 today].  In 1936 Jesse Owens won the 100 meter dash, defeating Ralph Metcalfe, at the Berlin Olympics.  In 1946 Santa Claus Land, the world's first themed amusement park, opened in Santa Claus, Indiana, United States. In 1949 the National Basketball Association was formed. In 1958 the nuclear-powered submarine Nautilus became the first vessel to cross the North Pole underwater [Captain Nemo would be proud].
 
Lesson learned:  Sometimes NOT calling 911, really isn’t always the best choice. 


0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Wednesday, August 3, 2016

just plain tired

Today is the 6th day of the 30th week, the 29th day of the 7th month, the 211th day of 2016, and: 
  • Army Chaplain Corps Anniversary
  • International Tiger Day
  • National Cheese Sacrifice Purchase Day
  • National Chicken Wing Day
  • National Lasagna Day
  • National Lipstick Day
  • National Talk in an Elevator Day
  • Rain Day
  • System Administrator Appreciation Day
In 238 the Praetorian Guard stormed the palace and captured Pupienus and Balbinus, dragging them through the streets of Rome and  then executing both of them.  In 1836 the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France was dedicated.  In 1914 the Cape Cod Canal opened.  In 1948 the first Summer Olympics [XIV Olympiad] to be held since the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, opened in London.  In 1957 the International Atomic Energy Agency was established.  In 1958 Eisenhower signed a bill creating the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.  In 2005 astronomers announced their discovery of the dwarf planet Eris. 

It may be Friday, but I am exhausted and dragging after a severe allergic reaction to an antibiotic.  No idea why it made me so sick.  Thank heaven that the weekend is coming up and I can go home soon and just collapse.


0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Friday, July 29, 2016

only child

Today is the 5th day of the 30th week, the 28th day of the 7th month, the 210th day of 2016, and: 
  • Buffalo Soldiers Day
  • Independence day:  [Fiestas Patrias] Peru from Spain in 1821.
  • National Chili Dog Day
  • National Hamburger Day
  • National Milk Chocolate Day
  • National Refreshment Day
  • World Hepatitis Day
  • World Nature Conservation Day
In 1364 troops of the Republic of Pisa and the Republic of Florence clash in the Battle of Cascina, which was immortalized by the Michelangelo painting of the battle. In 1571 La Laguna encomienda, known today as the Laguna province in the Philippines was founded by the Spaniards.  In 1854 the USS Constellation, the last all-sail warship built by the US Navy, was commissioned.  In 1945 a US Army bomber crashed into the 79th floor of New York City's Empire State Building, killing 14 people.  In 1996 the remains of a prehistoric man was discovered near Kennewick, Washington.

Thinking about Kennewick man and his history, reading about the blue hole found at the bottom of the sea and wondering what could be at the bottom, has me once again reflecting on the fact that the homo sapiens is the only mammal species on earth without any cousins – there are no other humanoid species currently alive.  There have been others -- Neanderthals, Denisovans and homo floresiensis all co-existed at one point with cave men [back in the day we used Cro-Magnon to describe these early human versions that didn’t quite look like us] , but they are gone….   Where did they go?  Why did they disappear? Wiped out by disease, something that we were naturally immune to, or suffer a bottleneck [whatever the cause] that they could not bounce back from?  Killed by us, either through deliberate genocide or just by out competing?   Absorbed through interbreeding and intermingling [there are DNA traces]?
 
Whatever happened, today’s humans are the only child of the evolutionary tree…. 
 
 
 
Think about it -- how would our history, our culture, our interactions been changed if we had cousins and siblings?
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Thursday, July 28, 2016

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