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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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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...


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(¸.·´ (¸.·`¤"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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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


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

finding emo....

Today is the 4th day of the 30th week, the 27th day of the 7th month, the 209th day of 2016 [with only 150 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • Barbie-in-a-blender Day
  • Bagpipe Appreciation Day
  • Cross Atlantic Communication Day
  • National Crème Brûlée Day
  • National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day
  • National Scotch Day – it has been around since at least 1495, but no one can tell me precisely why we celebrate it on this particular day
  • Take Your Houseplant For A Walk Day
  • Take Your Pants For a Walk Day
  • Walk on Stilts Day
In 1054 Siward, Earl of Northumbria, invaded Scotland and defeated Macbeth [Mac Bethad mac Findlaích in Gaelic, and nicknamed Rí Deircc or the Red King], King of Scotland, somewhere north of the Firth of Forth.  In 1694 a Royal charter was granted to the Bank of England. In 1866, after two previous failures, the first permanent transatlantic telegraph cable was successfully completed, stretching from Valentia Island, Ireland, to Heart's Content, Newfoundland.  In 1921 researchers at the University of Toronto led by biochemist Frederick Banting proved that the hormone insulin regulates blood sugar.  In 1929 the Geneva Convention, dealing with treatment of prisoners-of-war, was signed by 53 nations.  In 1940 Bugs Bunny made his debut in the Warner Bros. animated cartoon "A Wild Hare."  In 1949 was the initial flight of the de Havilland Comet, the first jet-powered airliner.  In 1987 the RMS Titanic Inc. began the first expedited salvage of wreckage of the RMS Titanic.  In 2005, after an incident during mission STS-114, NASA grounded the Space Shuttle fleet, pending an investigation of the continuing problem with the shedding of foam insulation from the external fuel tank. 

So, about those three things I talked about yesterday? 
  1. The computer is still crashing with the same error message for Second Life and InWorldz using the Firestorm viewer.  I have tried eliminating ambient lighting and shadows – which is recommended for low-end and old video cards [and this is NOT supposed to be either] – and will continue testing since the Alienware Tech said the openGL error has to do with shading.
  2. Panda is not at all happy with me putting the lotion on her ear.  She ran from me this morning and cried when I caught her, then headed under the bed immediately.  Catching her tomorrow morning could be fun.
  3. When I got home, the heating/air conditioning unit in the bedroom had been purportedly fixed and the “carpet specialist” came in to vacuum up the water and clean the carpeting.  Despite blowing a fan on it all night, it was still very damp this morning and reeking vaguely of ammonia.  We’ll see how it is this evening
 I’m going through this update of what’s going on because my feelings are very close to the surface today – and I mean getting emotional over things that really don’t have a lot to do with me..  Watching Bernie give up last night, then reading about it today made me angry about things I cannot change.  The idea that little Philae had been written off for good at 5AM EDT this morning brought tears to my eyes.  Finding out that we have to circle back, refine, and expand the way that we track financial exceptions made me flush and flounder like someone was attacking my expertise.  And not one of these reactions made any sense – I knew the score before the DNC, it is just a piece of machinery, and no one was pointing fingers as we continue to ratchet up our processes.  So where is all this unfocused angst coming from? 

Did you ever just stand outside yourself and look at you doing something in disbelief, asking “what!?”  That’s me today – the moon isn’t full, I don’t have my period, things aren’t going badly, I’m not down about anything – so I really want to sit my psyche down and ask it what’s up with all this emotional turbulence  Seriously, can I take something for this?  

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Wednesday, July 27, 2016

taking it one day at a time

Today is the 3rd day of the 30th week, the 26th day of the 7th month, the  208th day of 2016 [with only 151 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • Aunt and Uncles Day ((now that is something I will never be -- I am an only child and can’t even be an “honorary” aunt since my closest friends are childless))
  • Bert’s Birthday
  • Independence Day: Liberia from the American Colonization Society in 1847 and Maldives from the United Kingdom in 1965.
  • National All Or Nothing Day
  • National Bagelfest Day
  • National Coffee Milkshake Day
  • One Voice Day
Finding positive news that isn’t about war or disaster in the list of things that happened on this day is difficult.  As always, I post the earliest item no matter what it is. 

In 657, in the Battle of Siffin, troops led by Ali ibn Abu Talib clash with those led by Muawiyah I.  In 1745 the first recorded women's cricket match took place near Guildford, England.  In 1775, the Second Continental Congress established the Post Office Department which later becomes the United States Post Office Department.  In 1803 the Surrey Iron Railway, thought to be the world's first public railway, opens in south London, United Kingdom. In 1963 Syncom 2, the world's first geosynchronous satellite, was launched from Cape Canaveral [now Kennedy Space Center] on a Delta B booster.  In 1971 Apollo 15 was launched on a manned mission to the moon. In 1977 the National Assembly of Quebec voted for the use of French as the official language of the provincial government. 

It is said that bad things always come in threes, and this morning I completed the trifecta.  
  1. The first issue is the ongoing problems with the CPU – last night the Alienware Support team once again did a full clean install of the Nvidea drivers for my computer.  It would appear that the last clean install didn’t remove all the bits and pieces of the drivers and the tech used a program called the Revo Uninstaller Pro to make sure that every last lingering smudge of presence was detected and deleted before reinstalling the drivers.  We’ll see if that fixes the issue.
  2. While cuddling Panda last night I noted there were three tiny splotches of bare skin showing on her ear, the one right above the healing bare spot on her forehead.  I immediately rubbed the lotion on them and washed my hands.  There isn’t any more that I can do to the apartment in the way of cleaning up, although I guess I could take another full day to wipe everything down and vacuum the apartment again….  Panda is scheduled for the second shampoo and dip on Thursday and I have a doctor’s appointment to make sure that I have not become a source of reinfection for her
  3. And this morning, while making my bed I go to the side closest to the window and heat/air conditioning unit and…  squish.  Now this is not a feeling or sound that you expect to encounter while making your bed in your carpeted bedroom, so it gets my attention and I investigate further.  Yup, the entire carpet is sopping wet!  Last year there was an issue with my unit leaking into the apartment below,  it took six tries and visits to my bedroom, but they supposedly fixed the problem.  Apparently they did not and this year I am getting the water.  I blot up as much water as I can with a towel, turn the A/C up so the unit stops running, then call maintenance – let’s see how long this goes before it is resolved.
There you go, three problems that are dragging on without a point of resolution and bugging me on a very personal level.   Why am I going on about them?  Well you see, although these are not within the realm of my control, they are still in the area of my influence -- I can at least make a stab at addressing them and maybe even impacting the outcome.

Such is not the case with the issues of the day that bedevil the world.  As last night wore on,  I will admit that I had to actively fight the impulses to [1] comment on and engage in debate about  how the establishment deliberately worked against Bernie [the comments saying that we should all just grow up or go away really tested my resolve], or to [2] watch the speeches at the DNC last night and join the running Tweet stream, or to [3] turn on CNN to see the updates about the bombings, stabbings and shootings, drenching myself in the “WTF is going on with the world” vibes.  While I am reading the news and keeping informed, I honestly do not see where doing any of those things is truly helpful.  Problem is?  I am not quite sure what to do about any of the public issues – thoughts and prayers, advocacy, even making contributions – none of these things that are within my power to do  seem to have much impact at the moment on the ultimate outcome.  Like too many folk, I feel both powerless and disenfranchised, and while I will indeed go to the polls to do my duty,  I realize I have become that person known as a “depressed voter”  




Me?  I’ll just take it one day at a time for the moment, okay?
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Tuesday, July 26, 2016

yes I can hear you

Today is the 2nd day of the 30th week, the 25th day of the 7th month, the 207th day of 2016 [with only 152 shopping days left until Christmas], and: 
  • Culinarians Day
  • Feast of Saint James
  • Health and Happiness with Hypnosis Day
  • International Red Shoe Day -- founded in memory of Australian Lyme  Patient, Theda Myint
  • National Baha'i Day in Jamaica
  • National Carousel Day
  • National Hot Fudge Sundae Day
  • National Wine and Cheese Day
  • Thread the Needle Day
  • Video Games Day -- the US National Video Game Team (USNVGT) was founded in 1983 in Ottumwa, Iowa
In 285 Diocletian appoints Maximian as Caesar, co-ruler.  In 315 the Arch of Constantine was completed near the Colosseum in Rome to commemorate Constantine I's victory over Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge.  In 1536 Sebastián de Belalcázar on his way to the fabled El Dorado, founded the city of Santiago de Cali.  In 1538 the Spanish Conquistador Francisco de Orellana founded the city of Guayaquil [the original name was "Muy Noble y Muy Leal Ciudad de Santiago de Guayaquil"].  In 1609 the English ship Sea Venture, en route to Virginia, was beached during a storm at Bermuda to prevent its sinking -- and the survivors founded a new colony there.  1837 marked the first commercial use of an electrical telegraph by William Cooke and Charles Wheatstone between Euston and Camden Town in London.  In 1861 the US Congress passed the Crittenden–Johnson Resolution, stating that the war was being fought to preserve the Union and not to end slavery.  In 1869 the Japanese daimyo begin returning their land holdings to the emperor as part of the Meiji Restoration reforms (Traditional Japanese Date: June 17, 1869).  In 1908 Ajinomoto is founded when Kikunae Ikeda of the Tokyo Imperial University discovered that a key ingredient in kombu soup stock is monosodium glutamate (MSG), and patented a process for manufacturing it.  In 1917 Sir Robert Borden introduced the first income tax in Canada as a "temporary" measure (lowest bracket was 4% and highest was 25%).  In 1946 an atomic bomb was detonated underwater in the lagoon of Bikini Atoll [the first detonations of nuclear devices since the atomic bombing of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945 to investigate the effect of nuclear weapons on warships].  In 1959 Lloyd J. Old introduced BCG, a tuberculosis vaccine, into experimental cancer research as a way to stimulate non-specific resistance to tumor growth.  In 1965 Bob Dylan plugged in an electric guitar at the Newport Folk Festival, signaling a major change in folk and rock music.  In 1973 the Soviet Mars 5 space probe was launched and in 1976 the US Viking 1 took the famous Face on Mars photo.  In 1978 Louise Brown, the world's first "test tube baby" was born.  In 1984 Salyut 7 cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to walk in space.

It has been a tough weekend for the world what with storms and earthquakes in the Pacific, shootings and bombings, and political conniving, not to mention the soaring heat indexes hereabouts.  While I may be accused of deciding to emulate the ostrich,  I just don’t see any rhyme or reason for harping on the painful realities.   Instead?  I chose to spend Saturday playing with my granddaughters and visiting with my daughter and son-in-law.  Then  Sunday I took myself to the movies and enjoyed the air conditioned comfort of a double header – and that is what I am going remember about this weekend. 

Oh and FWIIW, I liked both Tarzan and Star Trek Beyond.  Neither are what I would call great, both were entertaining.  I liked this iteration of Tarzan and appreciated that the story moved forward from what we usually see about his life, although we did get the origin story in flashbacks [Rotten Tomatoes was not impressed though].  Star Trek was an awful lot of explosions and CGI, and it seemed more like an episode than a movie with a story that has been told time and time again, but there were several nice little character development moments:  Spock and McCoy have that relationship down pat, the shot of Kirk and his closet, the poignancy of seeing Chekov for the last time, and a very moving tribute to Leonard Nimoy worked seamlessly into the events.  All in all, it was a pleasant and much needed diversion from what we so insistently label “real life” and I feel all the better for it.  I even changed my Facebook profile picture back to the smiling picture of me rather than the sad picture of holding a candle in the darkness….

Now to get through this Monday!

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Monday, July 25, 2016


Today is the 6th day of the 29th [and very long] week, the 22nd day of the 7th month, the 204th day of 2016, and: 
  • Feast day of Mary Magdalene, considered a saint by the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran churches
  • Fragile X Awareness Day -- Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the most common cause of inherited intellectual disability and the most common known genetic cause of autism
  • Hammock Day
  • Lion's Share Day
  • National Penuche Fudge Day
  • National Ratcatcher's Day  ((seriously, this is a profession))
  • Pi Approximation or Casual Pi Day ((because 22/7 is the lazy way to express Pi))
  • Spoonerism Day
  • Summer Leisure Day
In 838 the Byzantine emperor Theophilos suffered a heavy defeat by the Abbasids in the Battle of Anzen.  In 1587 a second group of English settlers arrived on Roanoke Island off North Carolina to re-establish the deserted colony.  In 1686 Albany, New York was formally chartered as a municipality by Governor Thomas Dongan.  1706 England and Scotland agreed on the Acts of Union 1707 which led to the creation of the Kingdom of Great Britain.  In 1894 the first ever motor race is held in France between the cities of Paris and Rouen [and the fastest finisher was not given the official victory, which was awarded to Albert Lemaître driving his 3 hp petrol engine Peugeot]. 

I haven’t said a lot about politics, but I continue to be worried – and nothing that I have heard from during this presidential campaign either assuages or ameliorates the concern that my country is descending into a morass from which we will find it difficult to extract ourselves.  But then again, the outlook was grim at the turn of the last century as well and I remain hopeful that we will muddle our way into the future ….

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Friday, July 22, 2016

one small step....

Today is the 4th day of the 29th week, the 20th day of the 7th month, the 202nd day of 2016, and:  
  • International Cake Day
  • International Chess Day
  • Moon Day – 47 years ago Apollo 11's crew successfully made the first manned landing on the Moon in the Sea of Tranquility
  • Nap Day
  • National Fortune Cookie Day
  • National Lollipop Day
  • National Ugly Truck Contest Day
  • Space Exploration Day
  • Take Your Poet to Work Day
  • World Jump Day
In 70 Titus, son of emperor Vespasian, stormed the Fortress of Antonia north of the Temple Mount, Jerusalem and the Roman army was fighting in the street against the Zealots.  In 1738 the Canadian explorer Pierre Gaultier de Varennes et de La Vérendrye reached the western shore of Lake Michigan.  In 1807 Nicéphore Niépce was awarded a patent by Napoleon for the Pyréolophore, the world's first internal combustion engine, after it successfully powered a boat upstream on the river Saône in France.  In 1903 the Ford Motor Company shipped its first car.  In 1938 the US Department of Justice filed a suit in New York City against the motion picture industry charging violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act in regards to the studio system, a case that would eventually result in a break-up of the industry in 1948.  In 1976 Viking 1 lander successfully landed on Mars. In 1999, after 38 years at the bottom of the Atlantic, astronaut Gus Grissom's Liberty Bell 7 Mercury capsule was recovered. In 2015 the United States and Cuba resumed full diplomatic relations after five decades. 
"I always knew I'd live to see the first man on the moon. I never dreamed I'd also see the last." ~ Jerry Pournelle
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Wednesday, July 20, 2016

well it isn't Monday at least

Today is the 3rd day of the 29th week, the 19th day of the 7th month, the 201st day of 2016, and: 
  • Flight Attendant Safety Professionals' Day
  • Full Buck Moon at 6:56 PM EDT
  • National Daiquiri Day
  • National Flitch Day ((a flitch is a side of pig, salted and cured)) In 1854 was when the ceremony was revived on this day after not having it for 103 years. However it's really officially celebrated every Leap Year
  • National Raspberry Cake Day
  • New Friends Day
  • Stick Out Your Tongue Day
In 484 Leontius was crowned Eastern emperor at Tarsus (modern Turkey) as part of the rebellion against the Roman Emperor Zeno; because he was recognized in Antioch he made it his capital.  In 1832 the British Medical Association was founded as the Provincial Medical and Surgical Association by Sir Charles Hastings at a meeting in the Board Room of the Worcester Infirmary.  In 1843 Brunel's steamship the SS Great Britain was launched, becoming the first ocean-going craft with an iron hull or screw propeller and becoming the largest vessel afloat in the world.  In 1900 the first line of the Paris Métro opened.  In 1903 Maurice Garin won the first Tour de France.  In 1983 the first 3D reconstruction of a human head in a CT is published.

Even as stories about politics [the Republican convention, Brexit, et al] and turmoil [coups, bombs, ambushes et al] plaster the headlines, fill the newscasts and clog up the internet pipes, I find myself retreating more and more into my 2nd Life.  Overwhelmed by the sheer scope of the insanity, I have been binge watching shows, reading series obsessively, playing games, taking online courses [altho the topic is interesting, the talking head on this one is not, alas], wandering [or at least trying to – different story] into Second Life and InWorldz to give my psyche some relief from the workaday world in which I live. 

What do I do when I am in world?  Retail therapy – costs a whole heckavu lot less to indulge in a shopping spree in world than it does in real life.  Making living spaces  – I find that I enjoy creating environments with landscaping, housing and furniture whether it is a tropical beach with a lighthouse or a winter hobbit hole or  treehouse or a cave under the sea for mer folk.  Wander and explore.  Listening to live music, or poetry readings.  Role play – Gorean or family or other -- not as much these days as those I was intensely involved with are no longer in world.  And the people from literally around the world [boy are time zones a PITA when you are trying to be together] and the relationships formed with them, the communities, the groups, the feeling of belonging.  I don't agree that being able to live and love in a 2nd Life is "turning fake things into reality, and turning meaningful life into a kind of television " but very much see it as an addition or enrichment to my existence, rather like “augmented reality” [a term that is being bandied about quite a bit here lately thanks to some app….].

So, how do you stop the stresses and strains of society from darkening your spirit?

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Tuesday, July 19, 2016

what is it about OMGIM?

Today is the 2nd day of the 29th week, the 18th day of the 7th month, the 200th day of 2016 [with only 159 shopping days until Christmas left], and: 
  • Global Hug Your Kid Day
  • National Caviar Day
  • National Get Out of the Doghouse Day  ((nope, can no do – I seem to be in permanent residence these days))
  • National Sour Candy Day
  • Nelson Mandela International Day -- Nelson Mandela was born in Mvezo in 1918  .
  • Perfect Family Day ((hah!  Doesn’t exist, never has, never will, Norman Rockwell notwithstanding))
  • World Listening Day
This date is slightly more likely to fall on a Monday, Wednesday or Saturday – I wonder why certain dates just sort out to certain days, I’m sure there’s some mathematical algorithm that explains it totally.    

n 390 BC a Roman army was defeated by raiding Gauls, leading to the subsequent sacking of Rome.  In the Great Fire of Rome caused widespread devastation, raging six days and destroying half of the city.  In 1536 Parliament passed an act declaring the authority of the pope void in England.  In 1870 the First Vatican Council decreed the dogma of papal infallibility ((I'll have to admit that I was surprised to learn this was such a recent ruling -- certainly the concept of a charism entrusted by Christ to the whole church has been referenced often enough in medieval times)).  In 1925 Adolf Hitler published his personal manifesto Mein Kampf.  1969 after a party on Chappaquiddick Island, Senator Ted Kennedy from Massachusetts drove his car off a bridge and Mary Jo Kopechne, died ((we never did learn the full story of that night, I think)).  In 1976 – Nadia Comăneci became the first person in Olympic Games history to score a perfect 10 in gymnastics at the 1976 Summer Olympics.  In 2016 @NASAVoyager is 18 hrs 41 mins 49 secs of light-travel time from Earth (2016:199:120000:1L)

Ran across an article about hiring someone to listen to old folks (( -- an old idea, modernized for the gig economy. 

And that got me to thinking on more than one level about what that says about the state of our families and communities.  You see, my knee jerk reaction was something along the lines of “wait, you can get paid for doing this?”  Make $20 an hour while listening to someone -- that sounds pretty easy and it sure beats dog walking, neh?  Those folks get $20+ a walk, and that can take longer than an hour ; on the other hand, you can walk more than one dog at a time [with some caveats].  Then again, just listening can turn pretty quickly into other tasks.  Of course, this has always been an option of the well-off class – back in older times it was an impecunious relative [usually a spinster] who would come and live with the family and be a companion/servant in return for support. 

And then I got to thinking about what this says about the role of the older generation in the lives of the younger generation.  I sympathize with anyone who is caught listening to the same stories you don’t really want to hear, told again and again – Grandmom Riley’s younger sister, Great-Aunt Mary was a confirmed hypochondriac who could talk very loudly and very long about every ailment she felt she suffered and woe betide the victim she fastened on!  And yet, while I was not always terribly happy with listening to my grandparents natter on, slowly a picture of a totally different life emerged and I found it interesting to think about how I might have grown up back in their day.  I heard stories about the Great Depression, about the flu epidemic of 1918 and how it felt to lose entire families, and other small tales about how nicknames became used.  It gave me context for the people who were sitting in front of me, the choices they made and how they came to be where they were.   I look again at the story, and think what it means – I am rapidly becoming the older generation and realize no one wants to hear about party land lines, walking to school [uphill.  Both ways!], when we thought it was funny that our parents didn’t understand how to program the VCR, demonstrating against ‘Nam in 1968, or not  trusting anyone over 30.   There are many stories about how the baby boomers ruined the world for their progeny and they always quietly infuriate me because I certainly was not a proponent of all that has happened since the 1980’s – but all those individual and family stories that are interspersed with the monologues ….   Now to be farmed out as part of the gig economy rather than assimilated by the kids and grandkids.   

No final conclusion to share as I ramble on about this.  OTOH: it can be a life saver enabling irascible individuals to be included in family occasions easily.  OTOH: it increases the isolation those same individuals are probably already struggling with.  In the end it is neither good nor bad, just another idea where your mileage may vary, neh?

13th day without a PC and the CPU is on its way back to me.  Might even have it up and running in time for the full Buck moon or Thunder Moon!  

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Monday, July 18, 2016

TGIF at last

Today is the 6th day of the 28th week, the 15th day of the 7th month, the 197th day of 2016 [with only 162 shopping days until Christmas] and:
  • Be a Dork Day ((bonus cred if you can differentiate between a dork, a geek and a nerd))
  • Day of Rage
  • Gummi Worm Day
  • I Love Horses Day ((one of the oldest items on my bucket list is to learn how to ride, and to be able to own a horse))
  • National Give Something Away Day  ((I hereby bequeath all of my anxiety and angst to the two presumptive presidential candidates))
  • National Pet Fire Safety Day
  • National Respect Canada Day
  • National Tapioca Pudding Day
  • Saint Swithin's Day -- tradition says that whatever the weather is like on St. Swithin's Day, it will continue so for the next forty days
The waxing gibbous moon is at 81% of full.

In 484 BC the dedication of the Temple of Castor and Pollux in ancient Rome.  In 1482 Muhammad XII is crowned the 22nd and last Nasrid king of Granada.  In 1741 Aleksei Chirikov sighted land in SE Alaska and sends men ashore in a longboat, making them the first Europeans to visit Alaska.  In 1834 the Spanish Inquisition was officially disbanded after nearly 356 years.  In 1870 Georgia became the last of the former Confederate states to be readmitted to the Union.  Also in 1870 Rupert's Land and the North-Western Territory were transferred to Canada from the Hudson's Bay Company, and the province of Manitoba and the Northwest Territories was established.  In 1910 Emil Kraepelin, in his book Clinical Psychiatry, named Alzheimer's disease after his colleague Alois Alzheimer.  In 1916 Seattle, Washington, William Boeing and George Conrad Westervelt incorporated Pacific Aero Products (later renamed Boeing).  In 1979 US President Jimmy Carter gave his so-called malaise speech, where he characterized the greatest threat to the country as "this crisis in the growing doubt about the meaning of our own lives and in the loss of a unity of purpose for our nation" (note: he never used the word malaise).  In 2003 AOL Time Warner disbanded Netscape; the Mozilla Foundation is established on the same day.  In 2006 Twitter was launched (the first tweet was by Jack Dorsey).

Day 10 of no PC
:  Supposedly my CPU is wending its way back to me via FedEx Ground, who is supposed to pick it up today if the creation of a shipping label can be trusted [delivery usually takes 3 – 4 business days so I cannot expect my CPU back until Wednesday] .  The motherboard was replaced.  The advantage of sending the CPU to the repair facility instead of having a tech come into the apartment for the replacement was that supposedly everything else [the hard drive, the graphics card, the power pac] was  checked and tested – I have my doubts that they did anything but make sure the CPU would boot up and maybe reload WIN 10. 


I am taking bets on [1] whether it will work with SL and D3, and if it does, [2] how long it will actually work.   Any takers?
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Friday, July 15, 2016

not babbling but...

Today is slightly more likely to fall on a Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday.  It is the 5th day of the 28th week, the 14th day of the 7th month, the 196th day of 2016 [with 163 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • Bastille Day
  • International Nude Day
  • National Grand Marnier Day
  • National Macaroni and Cheese Day
  • National Tape Measure Day
  • Pandemonium Day
  • Shark Awareness Day
In 756 Emperor Xuanzong fled the capital Chang'an as An Lushan's forces advanced toward the city.  In 1771 the Mission San Antonio de Padua in modern California is founded by the Franciscan friar Junípero Serra.  In 1798 Congress passed the Sedition Act, making it a federal crime to publish false, scandalous or malicious writing about the US government [try and reconcile that with free speech!].  In 1853 the first major US world's fair, the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations, opened in New York City.  In 1874 the Chicago Fire burned down 47 acres of the city, destroying 812 buildings, killing 20, and resulting in the fire insurance industry demanding municipal reforms from Chicago's city council.  1911 Harry Atwood, an exhibition pilot for the Wright brothers, landed his airplane at the South Lawn of the White House -- instead of being incarcerated for trespassing or terrorism, he was later awarded a Gold medal from US President William Howard Taft for this feat.  In 1933 the Nazi eugenics program began with the proclamation of the Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring that calls for the compulsory sterilization of any citizen who suffers from alleged genetic disorders.  In 1960 Jane Goodall arrived at the Gombe Stream Reserve in present-day Tanzania and began her famous study of chimpanzees in the wild.  In 1965 Mariner 4 flew by Mars and took the first close-up photos of another planet.  In 1969 the US $500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 bills were officially withdrawn from circulation.  In 1976 capital punishment was abolished in Canada.  In 2015 NASA's New Horizons probe performed the first flyby of Pluto, and thus completed the initial survey of the Solar System.

My personal journal is titled “babbling” for a reason as I have always chosen to live my life out loud, as my daughter informed me a while back.  I remember that I was always a chatty kid, when no one was around I nattered on to myself.  If I wasn’t talking, I was singing, if I wasn’t singing – and if I wasn’t doing either I was trying to get answers to questions, reading or asleep.  Teachers had a hard time getting me to shut up – I spent a lot of time in the 3rd and 4th grades out in the hallway because of it.  As I got older, I realized that I had to cultivate the skill of listening and quickly figured out that if you asked questions, you got stories in return.   I got good enough at it that I used to get the entire life history of folks, some of whom were chance met and never seen again, and came to love learning the narrative each person tells about themselves. – but without realizing it, I never acquired the habit or ability to do “small talk” and be interesting.   

The cone of silence descends upon me while I am in what I call “crisis management mode” and lingers long after I have come through the immediate urgency.  After Frank died in December 2004, the cone surrounded and muffled me to the point that I stopped communicating almost completely, except that I was able to still type and thus live online, in what I call my 2nd Life [altho it is not limited to Second Life itself].  But in the past couple of years the questions have been drying up and I don’t know why.  Maybe I have run into too many people who feel that my questions do not indicate interest and caring, but  infringe upon their privacy, and I don’t know how to make non-boundary-crossing inquiries.   Maybe I am just  tired because I found that when I ask questions and hear someone else’s story that doesn’t mean they are really interested or invested in me or even care about my story.  

not knowing small talk +  not feeling comfortable asking question = a muted Carol




I leave it to you all whether or not that is a good thing….. .
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Thursday, July 14, 2016

too much at one time

Today is the 4th day of the week,  13th day of the 7th month, the 195th day of 2016, and: 
  • Barbershop Music Appreciation Day
  • Bean 'n' Franks Day
  • Embrace Your Geekness Day
  • Fool's Paradise Day
  • Go West Day
  • Gruntled Workers Day
  • National French Fries Day
  • World Cup Soccer Day
In 1174 William I of Scotland, a key rebel in the Revolt of 1173–74, was captured at Alnwick by forces loyal to Henry II of England.  In 1787 the US Continental Congress enacted the Northwest Ordinance establishing governing rules for the Northwest Territory, procedures for the admission of new states, and limiting the expansion of slavery.  In 1814 the Carabinieri, the national gendarmerie of Italy, was formed.  In 1923 the Hollywood Sign is officially dedicated in the hills above Hollywood, Los Angeles, California -- originally "Hollywoodland " but the four last letters are dropped after renovation in 1949.  In 1939 Frank Sinatra made his first commercial recording, "From the Bottom of My Heart" and "Melancholy Mood," with Harry James and his Orchestra for the Brunswick label.

This is the 8th day that I have not had a computer at home.   If anyone tells you that you can manage on tablet and that will replace having a PC, laugh at them.  You can do a lot of things on a tablet, but some websites and some programs just will not function properly. 

Panda is having a very bad time since I adopted her back on the 2nd .  The blotch of bare skin on her forehead is continuing to spread and is all the way down to her right eye now.  And not only did she get dumped in a carrier, hauled off to the vet, given a shot, had blood taken and got handled by multiple people on Monday but yesterday MaidPro came in and cleaned.  I found her cowering under the bed when I got home and it took 1 ½ hours to coax her out, and she kept running back under every time I moved quickly.  It didn’t help that I had to spread the ointment on the spot either and she really hated that smell.  I got a call about her test results during the day at work today.  The vet found a parasite in her stools for which she has to have medication for given orally for a week and it appears that she is close enough to  hyperthyroidism to warrant further tests to be run on her blood sample.   Although she curled up with me during the night, she is now flinching at every noise in the apartment building and running every time I stand up or make a sudden movement.  I figure that her stress level is sky high while her trust level is down around whale poop at the moment.

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Wednesday, July 13, 2016

it has been a long week

Today is the 3rd day of the week, the 12th day of the 7th month, the 194th day of 2016 and: 
  • Chick-fil-A's Cow Appreciation Day – supposedly if you dress Like a cow, you get free sandwich!
  • Different Colored Eyes Day
  • Independence Day:  Kiribati from the United Kingdom in 1979;  São Tomé and Príncipe from Portugal in 1975.
  • National Eat Your Jello Day
  • National Pecan Pie Day
  • Night of Nights (Maritime Radio)— celebrating the last commercial Morse code message transmitted
  • Simplicity Day
In 927 King Constantine II of Scotland, King Hywel Dda of Deheubarth, Ealdred of Bamburgh and King Owain of Strathclyde accepted King Æthelstan of England as their liege, leading to seven years of peace in their kingdoms.  In 1493 Hartmann Schedel's Nuremberg Chronicle, an illustrated biblical paraphrase and world history which is one of the best-documented early printed books, is published.  In 1527 Lê Cung Hoàng ceded the throne to Mạc Đăng Dung, ending the Lê dynasty and starting the Mạc dynasty.  In 1561 Saint Basil's Cathedral in Moscow was consecrated.  In 1562 Fray Diego de Landa, acting Bishop of Yucatán, burnt the sacred books of the Maya.  In 1862 the Medal of Honor was authorized by the US Congress.  In 1896 Revere Beach, the first public beach in the United States, opened.  In 1962 the Rolling Stones performed their first concert, at the Marquee Club in London.

So how am I doing without a computer? It has been a full seven days now.  I keep up with emails and most social media on Facebook.  I play Scrabble and colored a couple of very elaborate designs [while declining to buy coloring books for the apps].  I watched a little TV and I have been devouring books, binge reading with abandon.   I usually avoid the fantasy series, but of late I have to admit that being able to simply use the Kindle to go to Amazon and buy the next installment has been very gratifying.  Interestingly, although I keep marking books as “currently reading”, because I am not rating them when I am through, it looks as though I am still reading them.  In truth I have one book open on the iPad, another on the iPhone, a different book in the browser, a paperback in the bathroom and another on the Kindle so there are only five that are really in progress at anyone given time.  Unless I decide that I need some fluff to eat by and I pick up a book that I have read many times and just plunge into briefly

It is going to be a while before I join the totally mobile, tablet oriented movement.....
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Tuesday, July 12, 2016

can you hear me now?

Today is the 2nd day of the 28th week, the 11th day of the 7th month, the 193rd day of 2016, and: 
  • All American Pet Photo Day
  • Bowdler's Day
  • Day of The Five Billion
  • Free Slurpee Day [AKA 7-11's Birthday]
  • International Town Criers Day
  • National Blueberry Muffin Day
  • National Cheer up the Lonely Day
  • National Mojito Day
  • National Rainier Cherries Day
  • National Swimming Pool Day
  • World Population Day
In 472, after being besieged in Rome by his own generals, Western Roman Emperor Anthemius was captured in St. Peter's Basilica and put to death.  In 1405 Ming admiral Zheng He set sail to explore the world.  In 1735, according to mathematical calculations, it is on this day that dwarf planet Pluto moved inside the orbit of Neptune for the last time before 1979.  In 1801 French astronomer Jean-Louis Pons made his first comet discovery -- in the next 27 years he discovers another 36 comets, more than any other person in history.  In 1804 the famous duel between Vice President of the United States Aaron Burr and former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton ended up with Hamilton shot dead.  In 1859 Big Ben, the great bell inside the famous London clock tower, chimed for the first time. In 1889 Tijuana, Mexico, was founded.  In 1893 the first cultured pearl is obtained by Kokichi Mikimoto.  In 1914 Babe Ruth made his debut in Major League Baseball as a left-handed pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. in 1979, the abandoned US space station Skylab made a spectacular return to Earth, burning up in the atmosphere and showering debris over the Indian Ocean and Australia.In 2012 astronomers announce the discovery of Styx, the fifth moon of Pluto. 

Posting here is all but impossible using the iPad because copy/paste is so difficult, so you all may be hearing from me rather intermittently for a time.

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Monday, July 11, 2016

the times get darker

Today is 6th day of the 27th week, the 8th day of the 7th month, the 190th day of 2016, and: 
  • Be a Kid Again Day
  • Coca Cola Day  (Note: The actual date when Coca Cola was invented is unknown, so the birthdate of the inventor is celebrated.)
  • Collector Car Appreciation Day
  • Cow Appreciation Day
  • Math 2.0 Day
  • National Ice Cream Sundae Day
  • National Milk Chocolate with Almonds Day
  • SCUD Day (Savor the Comic, Unplug the Drama
  • Taos Pueblo Pow Wow [thru the weekend]
  • Video Game Day
  • Wayne Chicken Day
In 1099 some 15,000 starving Christian soldiers begin the siege of Jerusalem by marching in a religious procession around the city.  In 1889 the first issue of The Wall Street Journal is published. In 2011 the space shuttle Atlantis is launched in the final mission of the US Space Shuttle program. 

Yes #Black Lives Matter. 
Yes #All Lives Matter. 
Yes there needs to be accountability.  And obviously there needs to be some pretty basic changes.

I was married to a cop, and I know what they go through  – and they matter too.  We ask them to stand between the law-abiding and the criminals, we ask them to protect us when we cannot protect ourselves.  When they put on that uniform, pin on that badge, strap on that gun?  They know that they are deliberately putting themselves into harm’s way – and so do their families. 

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Friday, July 8, 2016

dark times

Today is the 5th day of the 27th week, the 7th day of the 7th month, the 189th day of 2016, and: 
  • Chocolate Day
  • Father-Daughter Take a Walk Together Day
  • Global Forgiveness Day
  • Independence Day:  the Solomon Islands from the United Kingdom in 1978.
  • National Macaroni Day
  • National Strawberry Sundae Day
  • Tell the Truth Day
Always bothers me a bit when the earliest recorded event is so late -- I suspect that my sources are just too Western culture oriented.  In 1124 Tyre fell to the Crusaders.  In 1534 Jacques Cartier made his first contact with natives in what is now Canada.  In 1863 the United States began its first military draft; exemptions cost $300 [that would be $5,480.98 in 2016 money].  In 1928 sliced bread was sold for the first time (on the inventor's 48th birthday) by the Chillicothe Baking Company of Chillicothe, Missouri.  In 1954 Elvis Presley made his radio debut when WHBQ Memphis played his first recording for Sun Records, "That's All Right."  In 1959 Venus occults the star Regulus and the diameter of Venus and the structure of the Venusian atmosphere are determined.  In 1981 Sandra Day O'Connor became the first female member of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Two shootings in two days.  A powerful person gets let off scot-free for infractions that would land thee or me in jail for treasonous activity.  And those are just the stories from the US recent news.   IMNSHO FWIIW:  this violence and polarization is a direct result of the hate spiels that are part of the Trump and Brexit campaigns.   And like many others who are neither rich nor powerful, I feel helpless to say or do anything that will stem this dark tide.

I have often commented that the saying “May you live in interesting times” is actually an ancient curse [and wrongfully attributed it to the Chinese].  I think that the historians of the future will find this time of transition from the Industrial Revolution to where we are going [service or knowledge or attention or tech economy, whatever] interesting.  We just have to live through the dark times, neh?

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Thursday, July 7, 2016

the PC saga continues

Today is the 4th day of the 27th week, the 6th day of the 7th month, the 188th day of 2016 [with only 171 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • Eid-Al-Fitr -- the festival at the end of Ramadan
  • First day of San Fermín, which lasts until July 14 (Pamplona)
  • Independence Day -- Comoros from France in 1975 and Malawi from United Kingdom in 1964.
  • International Kissing Day
  • National Air Traffic Control Day
  • National Fried Chicken Day
  • Take Your Webmaster to Lunch Day
  • Umbrella Cover Day
In 371 BC the Battle of Leuctra, where Epaminondas defeated Cleombrotus I, was fought and the outcome reduced Sparta’s influence over the Greek peninsula.  in 1484 the Portuguese sea captain Diogo Cão discovered the mouth of the Congo River. In 1942 Anne Frank and her family go into hiding in the "Secret Annexe" above her father's office in an Amsterdam warehouse. In 1947 the AK-47 goes into production in the Soviet Union.  In 1957 John Lennon and Paul McCartney met as teenagers at Woolton Fete, three years before forming the Beatles.  In 1974 Garrison Keillor's radio show, "A Prairie Home Companion," debuted in a live broadcast from St. Paul, Minnesota. 

I have made it pretty clear that the Alienware X51 purchased in December 2012 as never quite preformed up to my expectations of a mid-range gaming PC.  I have had one problem after another in the past 3 ½ years, but at least the support has always been covered by the warranty.  Today I sent off my CPU to Dell to be repaired.  In the past, when something needed to be replaced [the memory, the hard drive, the video card], a Dell hardware tech came to the apartment and took care of the installation.  In the past, if the OS needed to be reloaded [which we have done six times] an Alienware software tech got on the phone and remoted into my machine and took care of all the proper drivers, etc.  This time though, they requested I send the CPU to them, stressing that I needed to include the power pac, so that they could thoroughly test the machine, replace anything that wasn’t working right, and test it before returning it to me in 5 – 7 business days after it arrives at their location.  It is very inconvenient, but their argument was that fixing it piecemeal was obviously not working ((ya think?)) and that they really needed to escalate the level of support offered.  For the first time, the senior support tech mentioned the possibility of actually replacing the CPU as a lemon.

Now that sounds well and fine, but forgive me if after all this time, I am a bit cynical about the outcome.  Despite the excellence of the support I have received, and the outstanding patience of the individuals that I have dealt with over the phone,  the fact is I spent over $2K for a computer that has been a black hole for time and energy for years and has never quite performed up to expectations.   And you know what the replacement value of the rig is should I wish to upgrade to another Alienware product, specifically the Area-51?  According to the website, I would get $50 and a gift card for $50 for upgrading  In other words, Dell declared that machine worthless!

*sighs*  We’ll see what happens next. 

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Wednesday, July 6, 2016

back to EOM & EOQ stuffs

Today is the 3rd day of the 27th week, the 5th day of the 7th month, the 187th day of 2016 [and there are only 172 shopping days left before Christmas], and: 
  • Bikini Day – in 1946 the bikini goes on sale after debuting during an outdoor fashion show at the Molitor Pool in Paris, France.
  • Independence Day --  Venezuela from Spain in 1811, Algeria from France in 1962, Cape Verde from Portugal in 1975.
  • National Apple Turnover Day
  • National Graham Cracker Day
  • National Workaholics Day
  • Work Without Your Hands Day (SpongeBob Squarepants)
In 328 was the official opening of Constantine's Bridge built over the Danube between Sucidava (Corabia, Romania) and Oescus (Gigen, Bulgaria) by the Roman architect Theophilus Patricius.  In 1687 Isaac Newton published Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica.  In 1915 the Liberty Bell left Philadelphia by special train on its way to the Panama–Pacific International Exposition [This is the last trip outside Philadelphia that the custodians of the bell intend to permit]. In 1937 Spam, the luncheon meat, was introduced into the market by the Hormel Foods Corporation.  In 1948 Britain's National Health Service Act went into effect, providing government-financed medical and dental care.  In 1950 the Knesset passed the Law of Return which grants all Jews the right to immigrate to Israel.  In 1954 the BBC broadcast its first television news bulletin.  In 1954 Elvis Presley recorded his first single, "That's All Right," at Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee.  In 1996 Dolly the sheep became the first mammal cloned from an adult cell.  In 2009 the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold ever discovered, consisting of more than 1,500 items, is found near the village of Hammerwich, near Lichfield, in Staffordshire, England.  In 201 NASA's Juno spacecraft entered orbit of Jupiter.

Everyone loves the long holiday weekends, neh?  And everyone loves having a short work week, neh?  But no matter what the calendar shows, today still feels very Monday-ish as we settle into the work that we so gladly left on Friday afternoon….

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Independence Day

Today is the 2nd day of the 27th week, the 4th day of the 7th month, the 186th day of 2016 [with only 173 shopping days left until Christmas], and 

  • Alice in Wonderland Day -- in 1862 Lewis Carroll tells Alice Liddell a story that would grow into the book and its sequels.
  • Boom Box Parade Day
  • Earth at Aphelion
  • Fourth of July or Independence Day in the US
  • Independence From Meat Day
  • Indivisible Day
  • Invisible Day
  • National Barbecue Day
  • National Barbecued Spareribs Day
  • National Caesar Salad Day
  • National Country Music Day
  • Sidewalk Egg Frying Day
  • The first evening of Dree Festival, celebrated until July 7 (Apatani people, Arunachal Pradesh, India)
  • Trivia:  three US ex-presidents died on this day:  In 1826 the 2nd and 3rd presidents -- John Adams at age 90 in Braintree and Thomas Jefferson at age 83 at Monticello in Charlottesville; in 1831 James Monroe, the 5th president at age 73 in New York City. 

  • NOTE for those who like long weekends:  This date is slightly more likely to fall on a Monday, Wednesday or Saturday (58 in 400 years each) than on Thursday or Friday (57), and slightly less likely to occur on a Tuesday or Sunday (56)

In 362 BC at the Battle of Mantinea the Thebans, led by Epaminondas, defeated the Spartans.  In 993 Ulrich of Augsburg was canonized as a saint.  In 1054 a supernova, called SN 1054 and near the star Zeta Tauri, was seen by Chinese Song dynasty, Arab, and possibly American Indian observers -- for several months it remains bright enough to be seen during the day and its remnants form the Crab Nebula.  In 1886 the people of France offered the Statue of Liberty to the people of the United States.  In 1892 Western Samoa changed the International Date Line and Monday, July 4 occurs twice, resulting in a year with 367 days.  In 1934 Leo Szilard, Jewish Hungarian-born physicist and inventor, patented the chain-reaction design for the atomic bomb.  In 1939 Huỳnh Phú Sổ founded Hòa Hảo Buddhism. In 1946, after 381 years of near-continuous colonial rule by various powers, the Philippines attained full independence from the United States.  In 1951 William Shockley announced the invention of the junction transistor.  In 2012 the discovery of particles consistent with the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider was announced at CERN. 

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Monday, July 4, 2016

2nd day of the holiday weekend

Today is the 1st day of the 27th week, the 3rd day of the 7th month, the 185th day of 2016, and:
  • American Redneck Day
  • Disobedience Day
  • National Build a Scarecrow Day
  • National Chocolate Wafer Day
  • National Compliment Your Mirror Day
  • National Eat Beans Day
  • Stay Out of the Sun Day
  • Superman Day -- in 1939, at the NY World's Fair, the first public appearance of "The Man of Tomorrow", Superman (Ray Middleton) in full costume and a live Superman radio broadcast from the fairgrounds

In 324, at the Battle of Adrianople, Constantine I defeated Licinius, who flees to Byzantium.  In 987 Hugh Capet was crowned King of France, the first of the Capetian dynasty that would rule France until the French Revolution in 1792.  In 1608 Québec City was founded by Samuel de Champlain.  1767 Pitcairn Island is discovered by Midshipman Robert Pitcairn on an expeditionary voyage commanded by Philip Carteret.  In 1819 the Bank of Savings in New York City, the first savings bank in the United States, opened.  1863, the Battle of Gettysburg ended after three days in a major victory for the North as Confederate troops retreated.  In 1844 the last pair of great auks was deliberately killed.  In 1884 Dow Jones & Company published its first stock average.  In 1886 Karl Benz officially unveiled the Benz Patent-Motorwagen, the first purpose-built automobile.  In 1886 the New-York Tribune became the first newspaper to use a linotype machine, eliminating typesetting by hand.  In 1969 the biggest explosion in the history of rocketry occured when the Soviet N-1 rocket explodes and subsequently destroyed its launchpad.  In 1996 the Stone of Scone was returned to Scotland. In 1930 the US Congress created the Veterans Administration.  In 1962 Algeria became independent after 132 years of French rule.  In 1985 we went "Back to the Future" for the first time.

And in 2016, Panda settled into her forever home.  This was my first venture in actually picking out a cat -- Kula had belonged to my daughter and ended up with me, so we knew each other already when he moved in.

  She is actually nine years old, and is really is a beauty -- all chocolate brown with bands of lighter tan colors [no gray that I have seen] around her neck and on her front paws.  Eventually she will come out from underneath the bed long enough for me to get a good picture of her!  Panda is very friendly, apparently really likes to be brushed, and curled up contentedly with me while I read last night -- but the apartment is very very different than the activity and smells of the cattery [as the owner of Seniors for Seniors calls the downstairs den where all the cats are kept] and I think it will take some getting used to.  I didn't go to see Panda although I had read her bio on the page, I actually was interested in a male cat, Molo, but decided to see what happened when I walked in the door.  I was greeted at first by Luca and very nearly came home with because he was pretty lively and friendly.  Another little lady, a bob-tail named Ella, was really cute and stayed by my side for a while as I sat on the couch.  Mittens was a huge blue, and she took over my lap for a while, and had to be moved off.  I'm sure there were others that I would've liked to have me that just didn't feel like coming over at that moment; Panda had to be taken down from a very high perch where she had curled up away from everyone after she came up in the conversation about declawed cats -- can you beleive that after having her completely declawed, her heartless former owners just put her outside?  Fortunately for her, she was picked up very quickly and ended up with S4S.  She settled down with me very quickly -- she draped herself over my shoulder then sat in my lap looking up at me, started purring and even started playing a bit, something that surprised Marcy -- and that was what convinced me that Panda and I would do just fine. 

If you live in the Baltimore/DC area, and are thinking about getting a cat, I really encourage you to visit Marcy and see if one of those cats there would meet your needs.  You have to be vetted first, there is an application to complete on the website and they do indeed call and talk to the references you give.  And then you have to make an appointment to visit the cattery.  Once there Marcy is very helpful and patient -- she won't rush you at all.  There are a couple cats that really have to be "only cats" and there are many who obviously get along well with other pets; the ages range from a little one who is just barely a year old to a very gorgeous gal of 12 years.  A few of the older cats have been front declawed, but of course, that is not something that is commonly done anymore.  

Now if you all will excuse me, I am going to re-read Gone with the Wind on this day when the Confederacy reached its high water mark, and lost the War Between the States.

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Sunday, July 3, 2016

the first day of a holiday weekend

Today is the 7th day of the 26th week, the 2nd day of the 7th month, the 184th day of 2016, and:
  • Freedom From Fear of Speaking Day (( "Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret." ~  Ambrose Bierce ))
  • Hop-a-Park Day
  • I Forgot Day
  • International Cherry Pit Spitting Day
  • International Chicken Wing Day 
  • International Day of Cooperatives
  • Made in the USA Day
  • National Anisette Day
  • Special Recreation for the Disabled Day
  • World Sports Journalists Day
  • World UFO Day -- in 1947 an alien aircraft supposedly crashed in the desert outside of Roswell -- the Army Air Force later said was a weather balloon  
In 437 the Emperor Valentinian III begins his reign over the Western Roman Empire, but still under the influence of his former regent -- his mother Galla Placidia. In 1698 Thomas Savery patented the first steam engine.  In 1776 the Continental Congress adopted a resolution severing ties with Great Britain although the wording of the formal Declaration of Independence is not approved until July 4.  In 1921 Harding signed the Knox–Porter Resolution formally ending the war between the United States and Imperial Germany.  In 1937 the last contact with Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan while they are over the Pacific Ocean while attempting to make the first equatorial round-the-world flight.  In 1962 the first Wal-Mart store (called Wal-Mart Discount City) opened for business in Rogers, Arkansas.  1964 LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 meant to prohibit segregation in public places. 

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Saturday, July 2, 2016

half of 2016 beckons.....

Today is the 6th day of the 26th week, the 1st day of the 7th month and the 183rd day of 2016 – the exact midpoint of the year since there are 183 days left in 2016.  Today we are celebrating: 
  • American Zoo Day
  • Canada Day
  • Comic Sans Day
  • Devotion to Duty Day
  • Drive Your Corvette to Work Day
  • Early Bird Day
  • International Chicken Wing Day
  • International Joke Day
  • National Creative Ice Cream Flavor Day
  • National Financial Freedom Day
  • National GSA Employee Day
  • National Gingersnap Day
  • National Postal Workers Day
  • National Television Heritage Day
  • Second Half of the New Year Day
  • U.S. Postage Stamp Day
  • Zip Code Day
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Friday, July 1, 2016

another quarter down

Today is the 5th day of the 26th week, the 30th day of the 6th month, the 182nd day of 2016, and: 
  • Blink-182 Day
  • National Bomb Pop Day
  • National Handshake Day
  • National Meteor Day [AKA Asteroid Day]– in 1908 the Tunguska event occurs in remote Siberia .
  • National Organization for Women Day – formed in 1966
  • Social Media Day
The earliest notation is for 350 and is all about the Romans again -- the usurper Nepotianus, of the Constantinian dynasty, was defeated and killed in Rome by troops of the usurper Magnentius.  In 1859 the French acrobat Charles Blondin crossed Niagara Falls on a tightrope. In 1936 the novel "Gone with the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell was published. In 1953 the first Chevrolet Corvette rolled off the assembly line in Flint, Michigan.  IN 1971 three Russian cosmonauts are found dead in their Soyuz 11 space capsule after it made what looked like a perfect landing in Kazakhstan.  In 1972 the first leap second is added to the UTC time system -- the last leap second happened 2015 June 30th 23:59:60 UTC and so far the next leap second has not yet been announced.  IN 2004 the international Cassini spacecraft entered Saturn's orbit after a nearly seven-year journey.

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Thursday, June 30, 2016

wishful thinking....

Today is the 4th day of the 26th week, the 29th day of the 6th month, the 181st day of  2016, and: 
  • Feast of Saints Peter and Paul -- a Catholic liturgical feast in honor of the martyrdom in Rome of the apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul -- they weren't killed at the same time, but the celebration is of ancient origin and the day is thought to be selected as the anniversary of the translation of their relics
  • Hug Holiday Day
  • National Almond Buttercrunch Day
  • National Camera Day
  • National Waffle Iron Day
The earliest recorded event today is from 226 – Cao Pi died after an illness; his son Cao Rui succeeds him as emperor of the Kingdom of Wei. in 1534 Jacques Cartier became the first European to reach Prince Edward Island. in 1613 the Globe Theatre in London burnt to the ground.  In 1776 Father Francisco Palou founded the Mission San Francisco de Asís in what is now San Francisco.  In 1927 the Bird of Paradise, an US Army Air Corps Fokker tri-motor plane, completed the first transpacific flight, from the mainland United States to Hawaii.  In 1974 Isabel Perón is sworn in as the first female President of Argentina after her husband died in office. In 1974 Mikhail Baryshnikov defected from the Soviet Union to Canada while on tour with the Kirov Ballet.  In 1975 Steve Wozniak tested his first prototype of Apple I computer.  In 1976 Seychelles was declared independent from the United Kingdom.  In 1995 the space shuttle Atlantis docked with the Russian space station Mir for the first time, forming the largest man-made satellite ever to orbit the Earth.  In 2007 Apple released its first mobile phone, the iPhone ((SRSLY?  iPhones have only been around for nine years?!)).
Today was one of those days when you wake up convinced that it is one day and it is really another.  No matter how many times I have repeated to myself that it Is Wednesday, it still feels very much like Thursday to me today.  Perhaps the reason is that tomorrow is the end of month / quarter – and EOQ is a huge landmark and endpoint. 
Perhaps the reason is an advanced case of wishing my life away, trying to hurry to the long weekend ahead….. 

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Today is the 3rd day of  ISO week 26, the 28th day of the 6th month, the 180th day of 2016 [with 179 shopping days until Christmas], and: In 1098 the fighters of the First Crusade defeat Kerbogha of Mosull.  In 1846 Adolphe Sax patented the saxophone.  In 1859 the first conformation dog show was held in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.  In 1894 Labor Day became an official US holiday. In 1902 the US Congress passed the Spooner Act, authorizing then president Theodore Roosevelt to acquire rights from Colombia for the Panama Canal.  In 1919 the Treaty of Versailles was signed, ending WWI.  In 2007 the American bald eagle was removed from the endangered species list.  In 2010 the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that Americans have the right to own a gun for self-defense anywhere they live.

An ongoing debate that I have run across is whether or not you can manage someone without knowing how to do their job.   OTOH:  the argument is that if a manager does not have a detailed understanding of the ins and outs of the daily work, then how can they assist their direct reports?  OTOH: management in and of itself is a specific skill set that is applicable whether or not the manager understands the minutia, and sometimes having a fresh point of view is helpful in identifying processes and/or procedures that don’t work as well as they could or should.

I have been on both sides of this equation.  I have answered to individuals that don’t have a good grasp regarding the ins and outs of Loan Servicing –  they know the end result and that is good enough for them.  Sometimes complete ignorance is preferable than a little knowledge where they don’t’ know what they don’t know and assume that they know everything!  In this case, the burden was on me as a direct report to reflect the needs and challenges as well as the accomplishments of my department.  If the manager was a good one, then their ability to listen, advise and provide advocacy in the organization overcame their lack of specific “how to” knowledge.  And I have been the manager of a department where I did not know the process – it took me about six months before they accepted that I did understand enough to be able to assist them.  Having a manager who does know exactly how to do your job can be a bit of a chore as well – sometimes they tend to micro-manage and insist that you do things the way that they would do them and are actually more resistant to new ideas.  I have to guard against that tendency anytime that I manage Loan Operations for the simple reason that is my area of expertise and it is hard to step back and let others make the mistakes or do things differently when you are accountable for the outcome.

IMNSHO, my takeaway from asking this question is that the skills of a manager are under-rated, and many organizations are now suffering from an acute lack of execution as a direct result of having eliminated too many of their middle management.

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Tuesday, June 28, 2016

back to the real world

Today is the 2nd day of the week [OMGIM], the 27th day of the 6th month, the 179th day of 2016 [and there are only 180 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • "Happy Birthday to You" Day – and we have been singing it since 1859
  • Decide to Be Married Day (( or not ))
  • Helen Keller Day (she lived June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968)
  • Industrial Workers of the World Day
  • International Ragweed Day
  • National HIV Testing Day
  • National Indian Pudding Day
  • National Orange Blossom Day
  • National Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Day
  • Please Take My Children to Work Day
  • Sunglasses Day
In 1358 the Republic of Dubrovnik [AKA Ragusa] was founded when the channel that divided the city between the Romans and the Slavs was filled creating the present-day main street (the Stradun) which became the city center.  In 1895 the first run of the B&O's Royal Blue from DC to New York City as the first US passenger train to use electric locomotives.  In 1898 Joshua Slocum from Briar Island, Nova Scotia completed the first solo circumnavigation of the globe.  In 1899 AEJ Collins scored 628 runs not out -- a cricket record that endured 117 years.  In 1946 the Canadian Citizenship Act was passed by the Parliament of Canada establishing the definition of Canadian citizenship. In 1972 the video game company Atari was founded by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney in Santa Clara, Calif.  In 1982 the Space Shuttle Columbia launched from the Kennedy Space Center on the final research and development flight mission, STS-4.  In 1985 US Route 66 is officially removed from the United States Highway System.  In 2013 NASA launched the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, a space probe to observe the Sun.
There were many things that I could’ve done this weekend, lovely as it was outside.  We were at the Baltimore Zoo [well I guess they have been calling it the Maryland Zoo for a few years now actually (since 2004)] for the breakfast with the giraffes – even though the kids left, I certainly could’ve stayed and wandered about a bit.  There are a couple of movies that I want to see – Finding Dory and Warcraft are both still in the theaters.  The pool is open.  I could’ve taken a walk.  And there are a multitude of projects and chores that I could’ve tackled in the apartment – and some of them really need to be tackled!  So, with all this activity available, you know what I did? 
Noodled about online [as much as I could given the PC problems I chronicled yesterday]. 
Please note that long before the internet, my idea of a good time was to be able to lounge about with a book in my hand.  It might be a Kindle these days, but while the rest of the world is plunged into action, I was plugged into what I have always considered my 2nd Life [long before there was an SL to go to].  The only thing that would’ve made the weekend perfect would’ve been to have Kula curled up beside me while I was reading….  Well that and to be able to drink Coke and gnosh on cookies – I may be eating less and drinking unsweetened ice tea and water, but I would still like my Coke and cookies back.. 
Yup, there are real advantages sometimes to living alone – no one to interrupt, no one to nag, no one to worry  – just me and my book.  

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Monday, June 27, 2016

last Sunday in June

Today is the 1st day of the week [the last Sunday in June], the 26th day of the 6th month, the 178th day of 2016 [with only 181 shopping days left until Christmas], and:
  • America's Kids Day -- remember asking your parents how come there wasn't a kids' day when there was both a mothers' and a fathers' day?  
  • Beautician's Day
  • Descendants' Day
  • Forgiveness Day
  • International Day in Support of Victims of Torture
  • Log Cabin Day -- created in 1986 by the Log Cabin Society and the Bad Axe Historical Society in Michigan
  • National Canoe Day
  • National Chocolate Pudding Day
  • Same Sex Marriage Day -- in 2015 the Supreme Court declared gay marriage legal in the US
  • Tropical Cocktails Day
In 4 Augustus adopted Tiberius [the stepson of Augustus, grand-uncle of Caligula, paternal uncle of Claudius, and great-grand uncle of Nero].  In 699 En no Ozuno, a Japanese mystic and apothecary who will later be regarded as the founder of a folk religion Shugendō, is banished to Izu Ōshima.  In 1843 Hong Kong Island is ceded to the British "in perpetuity" as part of the Treaty of Nanking.  In 1870 the Christian holiday of Christmas is declared a federal holiday in the United States.  In 188 Henri Moissan isolated elemental Fluorine for the first time.  In 1934 Roosevelt signed the Federal Credit Union Act, which establishes credit unions in the United States.  In 1945 the United Nations Charter is signed in San Francisco.  In 1960 the former British Protectorate of British Somaliland gained its independence as Somaliland and Madagascar gained its independence from France.  In 1974 the Universal Product Code is scanned for the first time to sell a package of Wrigley's chewing gum at the Marsh Supermarket in Troy, Ohio.  In 1977 Elvis Presley performed for the last time in a concert in Indianapolis.  In 2000 Pope John Paul II revealed the third secret of Fátima. In 2016 @NASAVoyager is 18 hrs 38 mins 55 secs of light-travel time from Earth (2016:178:120000:1L)

The saga of the crashing video card continues -- tech support has now authorized the replacement of the motherboard and possibly the hard drive again.    To recap my odyssey:

  1. the Alienware X51 was built in November and purchased in December of 2012 -- delivered in January 2013.  Fortunately I purchased a full warranty at the same time.  I did so because the last computer I had seemed to develope multiple issues within two years.
  2. after multiple calls to support about the graphics performance, which included reloads of Windows and an update of the BIOS,  two of the memory RAM was replaced in April 2014 when a test showed they had become corrupted.  I start keeping my document and picture files on an external hard drive
  3. the warranty expires December 2015 and I renew for another year.
  4. another set of calls and re-installs of the OS and in March 2016 the hard drive was replaced after a test indicated it had become corrupted
  5. on June 14th the video card was replaced after a complete failure [FPS of 1]
  6. on June 22nd after two weeks of complaints about crashing, Win 10 has a full clean install.  The video card errors start immediately

The question, which has been raised by an interested party who has been following my tweets and posts on the issues, about the adequacy of a 330W power pac for a full-sized midtier graphics card in a graphics-intensive gaming PC has not been answered.  I have been told that if problems persist after replacing the motherboard, then it will be escalated to replacing the entire CPU -- something I find rather dubious since the machine is now 3 1/2 years old.  

I have to say that the support staff has been pretty awesome.  Most of the tech support I have received has been friendly and considerate -- they genuinely tried to help and a couple of the individuals went above and beyond, spending a couple of hours helping me with testing, reinstalling, updating.   There have been a couple of incidents where communication was not very good:  [1] I am not a tech and failed to tell them something they needed to know, and they didn't ask the right questions; [2]  a heavy accent impeded my ability to understand exactly what was being said or get my point across.  They are all pretty adept at doing workarounds -- many times after they went in and rummaged about, things would work well enough for a bit that I could function in game and in world after a fashion until the next more catastrophic event had me calling in again.  Because I have a warranty, all of the software and hardware support has been free [well except for my time/energy], and when the items have to be replaced, a Dell tech comes to my apartment and does it -- no sending the CPU out for repairs, no trying to do it myself.    

Through most of these travails, while I have been unable to consistently log into games or Second Life,  I have been able to browse the internet, create and work on documents [never saving to the C drive anymore], etc -- all the things a PC is often used for.  If that was what I wanted a computer for, then I would say the Alienware X51 works just fine.  Unfortunately it was billed as a gaming PC -- not high end, mind you, but robust enough to handle itself -- and it has never performed up to my expectation in that regard.  Despite the high opinion I have of the support staff, given the number of problems that I have had I very much doubt that I will ever invest in another Dell product.  One considers the backup when one invests in a new rig, but the intent is not to have to rely on them to the degree that I have, neh?

Stay tuned....

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Sunday, June 26, 2016

not to choose is to choose

Today is the 6th day of the week [TGIF], the 24th day of the 6th month, the 176th day of 2016 [with only 183 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • Celebration of the Senses Day
  • Drive Your Corvette to Work Day
  • International Fairy Day
  • Museum Comes To Life Day
  • National Pralines Day
  • Swim a Lap Day
  • Take Your Dog to Work Day
  • World UFO Day
In 217 BC Hannibal ambushed the Romans, led by Gaius Flaminius, and defeated them at the Battle of Lake Trasimen. [In terms of the number of men involved, this has been the largest ambush in military history and the earliest known example of a strategic turning movement.]  In 1509 Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon were crowned King and Queen of England.  In 1571 Miguel López de Legazpi founded Manila, the capital of the Republic of the Philippines. In 1793 the  first Republican constitution in France was adopted.  In 1880 "O Canada", the song that became the national anthem of Canada, was performed at the Congrès national des Canadiens-Français. In 1916 Mary Pickford became the first female film star to sign a million-dollar contract [a century later? that would be $22,963,592+].   In 1947 Kenneth Arnold made the first widely reported UFO sighting near Mount Rainier, Washington.  In 1974 the Beach Boys' greatest hits album "Endless Summer" was released.

In 2016 the results of the #Brexit vote in the United Kingdom yesterday are in.

  52% of the people living in the UK did not decide the outcome of this referendum – 37.47% voted to leave and the other 62.53% are now bound by that decision.  The comment has been made [on Twitter] that “Exercising the right not to vote - is a legitimate option - in any non-mandatory democratic system - deal with it.”  Granted that the person who said that is highly elated at the outcome and insulted at the idea that the 27.8% of the folks who did not vote might have altered the outcome – pointing out quite rightly that maybe they would’ve strengthened the tide of #Leave.  Granted that the calls/petitions for a do-over are a bit ridiculous as well as impractical.  And the gentleman is absolutely correct – unless you are willing to somehow force folks to go to the polls, choosing to not to choose is just as valid an option as going on record for one side or the other. 

So why does this alarm me?  I am worried about the impending presidential election here in the US.  Right now it appears that the choice will be either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton – and I really fear that a large chunk of voters will look at the choices, decide that neither is acceptable, and just opt out because they feel it doesn’t really make any difference to them one way or the other.  I worry about that declaration of powerlessness and hopelessness..  And the rest of us will simply have to deal with the outcome, just like the UK will now.

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Friday, June 24, 2016

I heard what you said but....

Today is the 5th day of the week, the 23rd day of the 6th month, the 175th day of 2016, and we are celebrating: In 229 Sun Quan proclaimed himself emperor of Eastern Wu. In 1180 the Genpei War in Japan started with the First Battle of Uji.  In 1683 William Penn signed a friendship treaty with Lenni Lenape Indians [AKA Delaware or Renappi Indians] in what was to become Pennsylvania. In 1713 the French residents of Acadia are given one year to declare allegiance to Britain or leave Nova Scotia, Canada [some of them eventually went south and became the Cajuns in Louisiana]. In 1794 Empress Catherine II of Russia granted Jews permission to settle in Kiev [or Kyiv].  In 1947 Congress overrode Truman's veto of the Taft–Hartley Act [limiting the ability of unions to strike and lobby].  In 1958 the Dutch Reformed Church accepts women ministers. In 1960 t US FDA officially approved the first combined oral contraceptive pill in the world.  In 1969 IBM announced that effective January 1970 it will price its software and services separately from hardware -- and the modern software industry was born. In 2013 Nik Wallenda becomes the first man to successfully walk across the Grand Canyon on a tight rope.
Yesterday was a day during which I struggled with communications, both sent and received. 
One of the functions I have provided since I went from being a commercial lender into Loan Servicing at C&F in 1994 was providing a bridge between support functions and sales functions, smoothing over the inevitable misunderstandings that arise from two very different sets of priorities and focusing on servicing the bank’s customers.  Inevitably, I also ended up being the liaison with the IT department – and that has continued to this very day – even though I describe myself as FFNT  [fumble fingered non tech].  Apparently I know just enough to be dangerous and not enough to be really adept, but I pretty much know what I don’t know at least.  Usually [for the most part] if I holler, IT listens.  This ability seems to desert me when dealing with tech support on my Alienware X51 and my programs at home.  While most techs are patient, I have run into a view that simply make statements that do not make sense [to me, the end user] and then refuse to explain when questioned.  I am not sure whether it is [1] they don’t know the why only the wherefore [2] there is a language barrier [I would say that it is obvious for most of them we are not native speakers of the same language] or [3] they are sick and tired of what they see as stupid questions and see no reason to launch into lengthy explanations of something that should be obvious.
The issue I had last night was that I could not get my CPU to boot up using the installation media I had created to do a clean install of WIN 10.  Two calls to hardware support and one to software support gave me no answer -- I was literally told it was not their problem and I would have to contact Microsoft.  Fortunately I tried calling in one last time and got an installation expert who was perplexed too, and said he was going back to basics, then asked me if the flash drive was in FAT32 format.  It wasn’t.  And because that is the default format for flash drives, the other techs just assumed or took that for granted instead of checking, then discounted any discrepancy between what they expected and what I was saying as user error.  What we had was a failure to communicate and the issue could not be addressed until that failure was found and rectified – someone had to ask the right question. 
Bless that last expert’s heart -- once I changed the flash drive format and recreated the installation media, the process proceeded smoothly…   Well as smoothly as things go when you are upending your 2nd Life and have to reinstall everything, that is.  
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Thursday, June 23, 2016

hey, I gotta live with me

Today is the 4th day of the week, the 22nd day of the 6th month, the 174th day of 2016, and: 
  • Baby Boomer's Recognition Day -- anyone who was born in the 18 years from 1946 through the end of 1964.  There is talk of moving the day to August 17th
  • National Chocolate Eclair Day
  • National Onion Rings Day
  • Stupid Guy Thing Day – sexist much?  I never did like the “cave man” and Venus/Mars thing
in 217 BC Ptolemy IV Philopator of Egypt defeated Antiochus III the Great of the Seleucid kingdom in the Battle of Raphia.  In 1633 Galileo is forced by the Catholic Church to recant his view that the Sun, not the Earth, is the center of the Universe.  IN 1839 the Cherokee leaders Major Ridge, John Ridge, and Elias Boudinot were assassinated for signing the Treaty of New Echota, which had resulted in the Trail of Tears.  In 1970 Nixon signed the bill lowering the voting age to 18 in the United States. 

Following up on my musing yesterday on the 38th Law of Power, there was a dialog about authenticity online and the value of being yourself.  The first article argued that being yourself wasn’t always the best choice, which was more or less what I was observing.  The rebuttal was offered by one of the experts who was quoted in the article, stating her message had been misunderstood, she said it was about being “real”.   In return, the author of the first article replied and pointed out the costs of authenticity – a point of view that I actually touched on yesterday in my blog post.  The comment that struck home was"Aiming to be highly authentic leads us to filter less" and that it is the filtering and self-monitoring of how we react that provides the ability to get along. 

The question becomes, I guess, is how much you can hold back, how much you can edit your response, before it becomes a charade or a mask, neh?  And how much is my responsibility to be careful, and how much is the other person’s responsibility to be understanding?  At what point in the interaction do all parties “assume goodwill”? And if  Adam Grant is correct that the need to be seen as authentic drives a person to fuzz boundaries and share [too much?] their life online and in social media, then perhaps I have discovered why I am so vocal in my 2nd Life, or as my daughter put it, I am living my life out loud in an attempt at transparency.  Maybe I am figuring to know me is to love me – or at least know why you dislike me so much….    

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Always be yourself....

Today is the 3rd day [and not Monday!]  of the 25th week, the 21st day of the 6th month, the 173rd day of 2016: 
  • Atheist Solidarity Day
  • Baby Boomers Recognition Day
  • Global Orgasm Day
  • Go Skateboarding Day
  • National Cherry Tart Day
  • National Peaches and Cream Day
  • National Selfie Day
  • Tall Girl Appreciation Day
  • World Handshake Day
  • World Humanist Day
  • World Music Day
n 533 Belisarius' Byzantine expeditionary fleet sailed from Constantinople on a mission to attack the Vandals in Africa.  In 1307 Külüg Khan [ the name means "warrior Khan" or "fine horse Khan"] is enthroned as Khagan of the Mongols and Wuzong of the Yuan.  In 1900 China formally declares war on the United States, Britain, Germany, France and Japan, as an edict issued from the Empress Dowager Cixi in what became to be known as the Boxer Rebellion.  In 2004 SpaceShipOne became the first privately funded spaceplane to achieve spaceflight.

Quote of the day
:  “Think as you like but behave like others.”  ~ Robert Greene’s 38th Law of Power:

If you make a show of going against the times, flaunting your unconventional ideas and unorthodox ways, people will think that you only want attention and that you look down upon them. They will find a way to punish you for making them feel inferior. It is far safer to blend in and nurture the common touch. Share your originality only with tolerant friends and those who are sure to appreciate your uniqueness.

I have often made the comment that I am not good at office politics, and it is true.  The only organizations I did well in were ones where I had a higher-up who liked and appreciated my knowledge, skills and abilities and perceived the value of  my contributions – when I didn’t have [or lost]  that advocate in the executive suite, I did poorly. I was aware my very robust individualism and the quirky sense of humor alienated the powers that be and I seldom was regarded with affection by my co-workers --  I was often criticized [yes even in formal reviews] for my vocabulary and told that I was “making a parade of my education” when that was not my intent at all.  In fact, it is a mystery to me even this day that I might make others feel like I am putting them down when I often felt very much rejected and put-down!  The boss that I liked the best, and went to work for again when he called on me, once told me that the real problem was that I didn’t know how to alter my style and communication to fit the environment I found myself in -- I don’t know how to fit in.  In fact, I don’t know how to disappear in a crowd and I never did – back in my school days,  teachers always knew my name even if I wasn’t in their class, and I never did figure out how [or why].

Did I crave attention?  Complicated answer to that one given I always felt like I was on the outside looking in but I would say no because most of the attention I received was negative and rather hurtful – being a nerd before that was hip was painful.  Did I seek notoriety?  Simpler answer to that one – no, it just seemed to happen.  I would walk into a new place full of hopes and resolves that this time would be different – and it never was.  It had to be something I was doing something because the only common dominator was me but I never did figure out what I was doing wrong.   The advice was always to “be yourself”  but that seemed to be the problem! 

My takeaway for today is that I violated 38th Rule of Power consistently – and the consequences have followed me throughout my career.   I am not sure I would’ve been much happier if there had been a disconnect between the mask/uniform worn at work/in public and the “real” me.  After all, I have chosen to be “me” in my 2nd Life [which is, if you haven’t figured out, inclusive of all the social media, conferences, worlds and games I am in] when I could’ve been someone else…..  

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Monday, Monday.....

Today is the 2nd day of the 25th week , the 20th day of the 6th month, the 171st day of 2016, and: 
  • American Eagle Day
  • Anne and Samantha Day
  • Cuckoo Warning Day --  if you hear a cuckoo today, it will be a wet summer.
  • Flitch of Bacon Day – when it was celebrated annually, this was the day.  Nowadays it is celebrated every four years [Leap Year] on the date set up by the town of Dunmow in England where the ceremonies now take place
  • International Surfing Day
  • Lambrusco Day  ((any day is a good day for wine, neh?))
  • National Daylight Appreciation Day
  • National Ice Cream Soda Day
  • National Kouign Amann Day – only actually celebrated by one restaurant [with a helluva marketing department apparently]  to celebrate the opening of B. Patisserie.  The  signature item of this shop is the kouign amann, the Breton pastry that literally translates into “butter cake.”
  • National Vanilla Milkshake Day
  • New Identity Day
  • Plain Yogurt Day
  • Ride to Work Day [motorcycles]
  • Ryan Moran Day [the first full moon in June]
  • The First Day of Summer [AKA the summer solstice] at 6:34 PM EDT.  Having the full moon coincide with the summer solstice hasn’t happened since 1967.  June’s full moon is known as the Strawberry Moon, by the way, although it has also been called the Rose Moon, the Honey Moon and the Mead Moon.
  • The Longest Day –((admit it, you thought about that movie too))  hereabouts we will have about 15 hours of daylight, but the earliest sunrise  happened back on June 13th and the latest sunset will be on June 27th
  • Toad Hollow Day of Thank You ((says something about my cynicism of late that I misread this as “totally hollow day of Thank You” when I first saw it….))
  • West Virginia Day – declared the 35th state in 1863 as a result of the secession of several northwestern counties of Virginia during the American Civil War [AKA the War Between the States]
  • World Humanist Day
  • World Peace and Prayer Day
  • World Productivity Day
  • World Refugee Day
In 451 at the Battle of Chalons, Flavius Aetius squares off with Attila the Hun -- and since the latter retreats afterwards, the former calls it a win [scholars differ on the Roman claim, as well as the importance of the battle in stemming the tide as Attila pretty much rampaged at will through much of Gaul and crippled the military capacity of the Romans and Visigoths].  In 1782 the US Congress adopted the Great Seal of the United States -- but calling it "the United States didn't happen until 1787. In 1840 Samuel Morse received the patent for the telegraph.  In 1895 the Kiel Canal, crossing the base of the Jutland peninsula and considered the busiest artificial waterway in the world, officially opened.  In 1948 Ed Sullivan comes to TV with a variety show called "Toast of the Town" on CBS.  In 1963 the "red telephone" was installed in the White House and the Kremlin following the Cuban Missile Crisis.  In 1975 the movie "Jaws" was released.

Sometimes things just don’t happen like you expected them to.  I mean, we all remember back when we were kids and just couldn’t wait to grow up so that NO ONE could tell us what to do, when to go to bed, when to get up, what to eat, etc etc and so forth – and just look how that turned out, neh?   I am beginning to think that retirement is the same kind of wishful thinking.  While I know folks that are living what I consider pretty good lives [nice home, nice activities, good health, able to travel], I also know folks that are staying home and staring at the four walls, counting the pennies and pretty worried that their money won’t last as long as they do.  Given my work history and the fact that I missed the pension boat, I was not surprised when the financial advisor I consulted a couple years back told me that if I scrimped and saved, living very frugally [with no vacations or dagnabit expenses] for six years, I could retire at age 72 – and look forward to life scrimping and saving and living very frugally.  On Mondays, I have to remind myself that I made the choice to work as long as I could keep a job – which means as long as I can stay employed and my health holds out – so that I could enjoy a lifestyle that included splurges now and then as well as some travel.  I didn’t expect to have to make that choice – like my friends, I expected to be able to retire after working for over 50 years – but this is the world I live in.  Instead I am rather proud that I have worked longer [harder is prolly a totally separate issue] than anyone else in my family or amongst my friends  and enjoy what trips I do take,  my dagnabit moments, and my little indulgences while I can.
But Monday mornings?  Still tough….

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Monday, June 20, 2016

Father's Day

Today is the 1st day of the week, the 19th day of the 6th month, the 171st day of 2016, and:
  • Family Awareness Day
  • Father's Day – first celebrated in 1910 in Spokane, Washington, changing the customary day for the celebration of fatherhood dating back to the Middle Ages of the 19th March, as the feast day of Saint Joseph.  The 3rd Sunday of June wasn’t made a permanent national holiday in the US until President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1972
  • Garfield the Cat Day
  • Husband Caregiver Day
  • Juneteenth [AKA Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day] commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas in 1865
  • National Eat an Oreo Day
  • National Martini Day
  • National Pets in Film Day
  • World Sauntering Day
  • World Sickle Cell Day
In 1179 during the Norwegian Battle of Kalvskinnet outside Nidaros, Earl Erling Skakke is killed.  In 1269 King Louis IX of France ordered all Jews found in public without an identifying yellow badge to be fined [so the idea was not original with Hitler] 10 lbs of silver.  In 1846 the first officially recorded, organized baseball game is played under Alexander Cartwright's rules on Hoboken, New Jersey's Elysian Fields [the New York Base Ball Club defeated the Knickerbockers 23–1.  Damn Yankees!]. In 1949 the first NASCAR race was held at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. In 1964 the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was approved after surviving an 83-day filibuster in the United States Senate.

Fathers’ Day is always a very quiet day for me, for reasons that I have talked about before.  And for the record?  I called my father “Daddy” until around 8th grade when he requested I stop and say “Dad”.

  Hope you all had a good day today!
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Sunday, June 19, 2016

did I mention it was Saturday?

Today is the 7th day of the week, the 1st day of the weekend, the 18th day of the 6th month, the 170th day of 2016, and:
  • Autistic Pride Day
  • Dollars Against Diabetes Day
  • Go Fishing Day
  • International Panic Day – given the saga of computer woes both at home and at work, I have this one down pat
  • International Picnic Day
  • International Sushi Day
  • National Hollerin' Contest Day
  • National Splurge Day
  • Polar Bear Swim in Nome, Alaska
  • Waterloo Day -- celebrating Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo, Belgium, in 1815 which marked the end of his military domination of Europe.  “To meet your Waterloo” became a saying [indicating meeting a final and unconquerable challenge] by the mid-1800s.
  • World Juggling Day ((and no, multitasking doesn’t count))
  • Worldwide Knit (and crotchet) in Public Day
In 618 Li Yuan became Emperor Gaozu of Tang, initiating three centuries of Tang dynasty rule over China.  In 1178 five Canterbury monks reported to the abbey's chronicler, Gervase, that shortly after sunset they saw "the upper horn [of the moon] split in two" [in 1976 it was speculated this was possibly the Giordano Bruno crater being formed. It is believed that the current oscillations of the Moon's distance from the Earth (on the order of meters) are a result of this collision].  In 1767 Samuel Wallis, an English sea captain, sighted Tahiti -- he is considered the first European to reach the island.  In 1873 Susan B. Anthony was fined $100 [that would be $2,222 in today's dollars] for attempting to vote in the 1872 presidential election.  In 1901 Anastasia, daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, was born – her date of death is in dispute.   In 1948 Columbia Records introduces the long-playing record album using microgroove plastic in a public demonstration at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.  In 1983 Astronaut Sally K. Ride became America's first woman in space as she and four colleagues blasted off aboard the space shuttle Challenger.  In 2006 the first Kazakh [AKA The National Space Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan or KazCosmos] space satellite, KazSat-1 was launched. 
The Alienware X51 is not a bad machine – but it has never quite performed the way that I expected it too.   On the other hand, the warranty and tech support have both exceeded my expectations.  In the past 3 ½ years I have received hours of tech support, had the operating system totally reinstalled five times, new memory, a new hard drive, and now a new video card.  Unfortunately there have still been some lingering issues….

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Saturday, June 18, 2016

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