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bleeding heart....

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...


..*) .*)
(. (.`"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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Shrove Tuesday

Today is the 3rd day of the 9th week, the 28th day of the 2nd month, the 59th day of 2017 [just think, 16% of the year is gone now as February 2017 fades away…..], and: 
  • Car Keys and Small Change Day
  • Floral Design Day
  • International Pancake Day [AKA Fat Tuesday]
  • Mardi Gras
  • National Chocolate Soufflé Day
  • National Public Sleeping Day
  • National Science Day
  • National Tooth Fairy Day
  • Paczki Day
  • Pancake Day Race (Between US and England)
  • Rare Disease Day
  • World Spay Day
ON THIS DAY:  In 202 BC the coronation ceremony of Liu Bang as Emperor Gaozu of Han took place thus initiating four centuries of the Han dynasty's rule over China.  In 1525 Aztec king Cuauhtémoc was executed on the order of conquistador Hernán Cortés.  In 1784 John Wesley chartered the Methodist Church.  In 1827 the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was incorporated, becoming the first railroad in America offering commercial transportation of both people and freight.  In 1874 one of the longest cases ever heard in an English court [100 days and £200,000] ends when the defendant is convicted of perjury for attempting to assume the identity of the heir to the Tichborne baronetcy.  In 1885 the American Telephone and Telegraph Company was incorporated in New York as the subsidiary of American Bell Telephone.  In 1935 DuPont scientist Wallace Carothers invented nylon.  In 1939 the erroneous word "dord" was discovered in the Webster's New International Dictionary, Second Edition, prompting an investigation.  In 1940 basketball was televised for the first time (Fordham University vs. the University of Pittsburgh in Madison Square Garden).  In 1953 James Watson and Francis Crick announced to friends that they have determined the chemical structure of DNA; the formal announcement takes place on April 25 following publication in April's Nature (pub. April 2).  In 1954 the first color television sets using the NTSC standard were offered for sale to the general public.  In 1959 Discoverer 1, an American spy satellite that is the first object intended to achieve a polar orbit, was launched but fails to achieve orbit.  In 1983 the final episode of M*A*S*H aired, with almost 106 million viewers; it still holds the record for the highest viewership of a season finale.  In 1997 GRB 970228, a highly luminous flash of gamma rays, struck the Earth for 80 seconds, providing early evidence that gamma-ray bursts occur well beyond the Milky Way.  In 1998 the first flight of RQ-4 Global Hawk, the first unmanned aerial vehicle certified to file its own flight plans and fly regularly in US civilian airspace.  In 2013 Pope Benedict XVI resigned as the pope of the Catholic Church, becoming the first pope to do so since 1415.

Supposedly today is the last splurge before the season of Lent falls upon us at midnight.   I have lost count of how many people have told me that since they are giving up sweets they are binging chocolate today.  My resolve has to do with increased activity – I have 45 days as I try to make exercise a habit that will last past Easter.  

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Tuesday, February 28, 2017

just another Manic Monday....

Today is the 2nd day of the 9th week, the 27th day of the 2nd month, the 58th day of 2017 [with only 300 shopping days left until Christmas], and: 
  • Anosomia Awareness Day
  • Ayyám-i-Há (Bahá'í Faith) -- second day
  • Independence Day:  Dominican Republic from Haiti in 1844
  • International Polar Bear Day
  • Losar
  • Museum Advocacy Day
  • National Cupcake Day (Canada)
  • National Kahlua Day
  • National Strawberry Day
  • No Brainer Day
  • Shrove Monday
  • World NGO Day 
ON THIS DAY:  In 380 Emperor Theodosius I and his co-emperors Gratian and Valentinian II, issued the Edict of Thessalonica declaring their wish that all Roman citizens convert to trinitarian Christianity.  In 425 the University of Constantinople was founded by Emperor Theodosius II at the urging of his wife Aelia Eudocia.  In 907 Abaoji, a Khitan chieftain, was enthroned as Emperor Taizu, establishing the Liao dynasty in northern China.  In 1700 the island of New Britain [the largest island in the Bismarck Archipelago of Papua New Guinea] was discovered.  In 1801, pursuant to the District of Columbia Organic Act of 1801, Washington DC was placed under the jurisdiction of the Congress.  In 1812 poet Lord Byron gave his first address as a member of the House of Lords, in defense of Luddite violence against Industrialism in his home county of Nottinghamshire.  In 1870 the current flag of Japan was first adopted as the national flag for Japanese merchant ships.  In 1940 Martin Kamen and Sam Ruben discovered carbon-14.  In 1964 the Government of Italy asked for help to keep the Leaning Tower of Pisa from toppling over.


Quote of the day:  

"When we are mindful of every nuance of our natural world, we finally get the picture: that we are only given one dazzling moment of life here on Earth, and we must stand before that reality both humbled and elevated, subject to every law of our universe and grateful for our brief but intrinsic participation with it.” 

~ Elizabeth Gilbert, from her biography of naturalist Eustace Conway, The Last American Man


I guess that if we think of life as being “one dazzling moment” even having 52 Mondays this year shouldn’t be a bad thing, neh?

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Monday, February 27, 2017

Today is the 6th day of the 8th week, the 24th day of the 2nd month, the 55th day of 2017 [with only 303 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • Forget Me Not Day
  • Girl Scout Cookie Weekend -- 1st day
  • Independence Day:  Estonia from Russia in 1918
  • International Repetitive Strain Injury Awareness Day
  • International STAND UP to Bullying Day
  • National Tortilla Chip Day
  • National Trading Day
  • Women in Blue Jeans Days
  • World Bartender Day
ON THIS DAY:  In 303 Galerius published his edict that begins the persecution of Christians in his portion of the Roman Empire.  In 1582, with the papal bull Inter gravissimas, Pope Gregory XIII announced the Gregorian calendar.  In 1607 L'Orfeo by Claudio Monteverdi, one of the first works recognized as an opera, premiered.  In 1663 Louis XIV  canceled the original trading charter and New France [Canada] was made a royal colony of France, with a governor and an intendant; law courts come into existence.  In 1711 Rinaldo by George Frideric Handel,the first Italian opera written for the London stage, premiered.  In 1822 the first Swaminarayan temple in the world, Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Ahmedabad, was inaugurated.  In 1854 a Penny Red with perforations was the first perforated postage stamp to be officially issued for distribution.  In 1868 Andrew Johnson became the first President of the United States to be impeached by the United States House of Representatives but was later acquitted in the Senate.  In 1920 the German Workers Party, which later became the Nazi Party, met in Munich to adopt its platform.  In 1942 an order-in-council passed under the Defense of Canada Regulations of the War Measures Act gives the Canadian federal government the power to intern all "persons of Japanese racial origin" and the Voice of America went on the air for the first time.  In 1971 Commonwealth citizens lost their automatic right to remain in the UK under the government's new Immigration Bill.


Quote of the day:

 “There are two kinds of pride, both good and bad. 'Good pride' represents our dignity and self-respect. 'Bad pride' is the deadly sin of superiority that reeks of conceit and arrogance.”  
~ John C. Maxwell, American author, speaker, and pastor

 Yesterday’s musing on the current adulation of the cult of being busy asked the question of how one determines one’s value. 

At least as value is determined in the workplace, it reminds me of the inevitable conversations about “market value” each and every time the annual reviews rolled around.  Say what you will about the need for feed-back and action planning, most folks on the job see the annual review time as when or if they get a raise and/or bonus.  The important thing to understand is that businesses do not pay you for what you know, but only for the KSA [knowledge, skills, abilities] your particular position requires.  [ side bar:  Best example of this?  At one bank we had a woman who had retired from another job decide to take a job as a part-time switchboard operator and was paid more-or-less minimum wage.   But when she became the VP of HR [because that was what she had been in her previous work life], she was then paid according to that position -- same person, same KSA, different value to the organization] .  But I have to agree with the perception that market value consistently seems to short the value of those who fill positions that  “do” [as opposed to those who manage, create or sell]

The whole “OMG I am so busy” has changed the question “are you busy”, which used to be a polite way of asking if you could take up someone’s time at the moment, but now answering it can be fraught with implications:  if you aren’t “busy” are you saying you are lazy? Irrelevant? Replaceable?  If you say you are “busy” are you brushing someone off or making them feel socially or organizationally inferior by humble-bragging?  Depending who is asking?   I usually settle for something along the lines of  “yes, but how can I help you” or for someone closer to me  “I’m never too busy for you

But you know what?  Sometimes I am NOT busy and I plan it that way.  So there!

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Friday, February 24, 2017

how do you measure your worth?

Today is the 5th day of the 8th week, the 23rd day of the 2nd month, the 54th day of 2017, and: 
  • Curling is Cool Day
  • Diesel Engine Day
  • Digital Learning Day
  • Discover Girl Day
  • International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day
  • National Banana Bread Day
  • National Chili Day
  • National Rationalization Day
  • Play Tennis Day
  • Single Tasking Day
  • The Great American Spit Out (Thursday of "Through With The Chew Week")
  • Terminalia held in honor of Terminus (Ancient Rome)
  • World Understanding and Peace Day
ON THIS DAY:  In 303 Roman emperor Diocletian ordered the destruction of the Christian church in Nicomedia, beginning eight years of Diocletianic Persecution.  In 532 Byzantine emperor Justinian I ordered the building of a new Orthodox Christian basilica in Constantinople – the Hagia Sophia.  In 1455 this is the traditional date for the publication of the Gutenberg Bible, the first Western book printed with movable type.  In 1861 President-elect Abraham Lincoln arrived secretly in Washington, D.C., after the thwarting of an alleged assassination plot in Baltimore, Maryland.  In 1886 Charles Martin Hall produced the first samples of man-made aluminum, after several years of intensive work. He was assisted in this project by his older sister, Julia Brainerd Hall.  In 1898 Émile Zola was imprisoned in France after writing "J'accuse", a letter accusing the French government of antisemitism and wrongfully imprisoning Captain Alfred Dreyfus.  In 1903 Cuba leased Guantánamo Bay to the United States "in perpetuity".  In 1909 John McCurdy flew the AEA-designed Silver Dart at an altitude of about 9 metres for 2.5 kilometres at speed of up to 65 kph across the ice of Baddeck Bay; first airplane flight in Canada by a Canadian  In 1927 Calvin Coolidge signed a bill establishing the Federal Radio Commission (later replaced by the Federal Communications Commission) which was to regulate the use of radio frequencies in the United States.  In 1927 German theoretical physicist Werner Heisenberg wrote a letter to fellow physicist Wolfgang Pauli, in which he describes his uncertainty principle for the first time.  In 1941 plutonium was first produced and isolated by Dr Glenn T Seaborg.  In 1954 the first mass inoculation of children against polio with the Salk vaccine began in Pittsburgh.  In 1945 during the Battle of Iwo Jima, a group of Marines and a Navy hospital corpsman reached the top of Mount Suribachi on the island and were photographed raising the American flag -- a picture that became iconic.  In 1987 Supernova 1987a was reported in the Large Magellanic Cloud.  In 1997 scientists in Scotland announced they had cloned an adult mammal, producing a lamb named Dolly.  In 2013 Canada's NEOSSat (Near-Earth Object Surveillance Satellite) and Sapphire satellites launched from the southern Andhra Pradesh state in India


Remember back when calling someone a workaholic was a bit of an insult?  When talking about life/work balance and having time to “smell the roses” was considered a mark of an enlightened person?  Seems like that kind of thinking is out of style these days, neh?  Read an article yesterday about how the importance of being perceived as very busy -- -- and had to chuckle because yes, I know and have worked with people who pride themselves on being so much in demand that they cannot possibly take a day, much less a week or more, off.   I have often wondered why they want to be dashing about so frenetically, but have concluded that for some people it is actually their version of fun – you have to enjoy playing what I call “the game” whether it is sales or lending or marketing or political maneuvering [internal or external].  Certainly there was a point where I was all about management and organizational development, compulsively devouring books and information on both subjects when I was not at work, but there was always a point at which I would put things down and be “off”.  Don’t see the real benefit myself of being super busy all the time, but then again I do not have a career – I have made the choice to have a job and there is a huge difference.   




0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Thursday, February 23, 2017

half way thru the week

Today is the 4th day of the 8th week, the 22nd day of the 2nd month, the 53rd day of 2017, and: 
  • Be Humble Day
  • Celebrity Day (Church of Scientology)
  • European Day for Victims of Crime
  • George Washington's Birthday
  • Inconvenience Yourself Day
  • Independence Day: Saint Lucia from the United Kingdom in 1979.
  • International World Thinking Day
  • National Cook a Sweet Potato Day
  • National Margarita Day
  • Pink Shirt Day
  • Tex Avery Day
  • Walking the Dog Day
  • Woolworth's Day
  • World Thinking Day
ON THIS DAY:  In 705 Empress Wu Zetian abdicated the throne, restoring the Tang dynasty.  In 1632 Galileo's Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems was published.  In 1819, by the Adams–Onís Treaty, Spain sold Florida to the United States for five million US dollars.  In 1855 the Pennsylvania State University was founded in State College, Pennsylvania (as the Farmers' High School of Pennsylvania).  In 1935 it became illegal for airplanes to fly over the White House.  In 1959 Lee Petty won the first Daytona 500.  In 1983 the notorious Broadway flop Moose Murders opened and closed on the same night at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre. 

Quote of the day:

"Politeness is to human nature what warmth is to wax."
~  Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860) German philosopher

In this hyped-up era of extreme polarization, trumped-up partisanship, and trolling, I wonder how many of our differences would seem less solid if we were more polite?

Those who work in financial services know that the end of the years just hangs on seemingly forever.   Here we are almost through February and I am still dealing with audit responses, crafting reports, and assembling tax information.  While that is true each and every year, it seems to put you behind with the new year and I guess that I am just moving a little slower than previously because the new stuff seems to be piling up while the old stuff gets done.  And you get inundated with “could you do this now” requests….

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Wednesday, February 22, 2017


Today is the 3rd day of the 8th week, the 21st day of the 2nd month, the 52nd day of 2017, and: 
  • Card Reading Day
  • International Mother Language Day
  • National Sticky Bun Day
  • Single Tasking Day
  • Travel Africa Day
ON THIS DAY:  In 362 Athanasius returned to Alexandria.  In 1804 the first self-propelling steam locomotive made its outing at the Pen-y-Darren Ironworks in Wales.  In 1828 the initial issue of the Cherokee Phoenix, the first periodical to use the Cherokee syllabary invented by Sequoyah, was published.  In 1842 John Greenough was granted the first US patent for the sewing machine.  In 1848 Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published The Communist Manifesto.   In 1858 The first electric burglar alarm was installed in Boston, Massachusetts, US.  In 1878 the first telephone directories issued in the US, a single page of only fifty names, were distributed to residents in New Haven, Connecticut.   In 1918 the last Carolina parakeet dies in captivity at the Cincinnati Zoo [the last known wild bird had been killed in 1904].  In 1947 in New York City, Edwin Land demonstrated the first "instant camera", the Polaroid Land Camera, to a meeting of the Optical Society of America.  In 1948 NASCAR was incorporated.  In 1952 the British government, under Winston Churchill, abolished identity cards in the UK to "set the people free".  In 1958 the CND symbol, aka peace symbol, commissioned by the Direct Action Committee in protest against the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, was completed by Gerald Holtom.  In 1972 the Soviet unmanned spaceship Luna 20 landed on the Moon.  In 1995 Chicago stockbroker Steve Fossett became the first person to fly solo across the Pacific Ocean in a balloon, landing in Canada. 

I filed my taxes over the long weekend.  It was not a particularly pleasant experience even though I am eligible for a refund.  Because I have very minimal deductions, the program informed me that I pay more in the way of taxes than 94% of those in my income bracket and yes I have a problem with that.  

To start with?  Working in the loan department through the years has exposed me to a lot of tax returns of some very wealthy individuals and they --  like our president -- firmly believe that anyone who pays a lot of taxes is a fool.  They have lawyers and accountants carefully groom their assets to position themselves to their greatest benefit – not only do most of them pay a lower percentage of their income in taxes, many of them pay a lower dollar amount as well.   This is when I start ranting about the need for a flat tax – let EVERYONE [and that includes businesses and trusts etc] pay 25% so that the fat cats pay their fair share.  Because the way it stands now, I feel abused, taken advantage of, exploited and filing each year acerbates those resentments as I struggle with the monthly cash flow.  Bitterly I reflect on the old saying about “the rich get richer” and I sullenly feel that I am subsidizing every one of them in a lavish lifestyle while I am supposed to settle for crumbs from their table and be grateful for those – all hail trickledown economics! 

It’s just not fair.

At the end, the program shows me where the monies that I have paid are going in the federal budget. – and I always take a long hard look at it.   Charts like this fuel the drive against Social Security and Medicare because that chart claims a full third of my taxes go to those programs.  No wonder the right thinks that all they have to do is get rid of those “entitlements” to lower taxes!  No matter that it is like paying into your 401K or pension, no matter that someday [unless you are independently wealthy] you are going to desperately need those programs, seeing a full third of your tax dollars going there does indeed make it look as though it needs to be pruned. 

I will admit that for a few moments  I seriously considered not filing, but because I make sure I have enough taken out, I was due a refund.  But when I read the meme “The President doesn’t pay taxes so why should I?”   it makes me all snarly and snippety … 

It is back to work today for those of us lucky enough to have enjoyed a three-day weekend.  

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Tuesday, February 21, 2017

the Friday before a long weekend....

Today is the 6th day of the 7th week, the 17th day of the 2nd month, the 48th day of 2017 [there are only 310 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • My Way Day
  • National Cabbage Day
  • National Cafe au Lait Day
  • National Champion Crab Races Day (( I seriously need to reconsider my career choices! ))
  • National Indian Pudding Day
  • National PTA Founders Day
  • National Public Science Day
  • National Woman's Heart Day
  • Who Shall I Be Day  (( a day just made for those of us who live a 2nd Life, neh? ))
  • World Information Architecture Day
  • World Human Spirit Day
ON THIS DAY:  In 364 Roman Emperor Jovian was found dead in his tent at Tyana (Asia Minor) en route back to Constantinople in suspicious circumstances after a reign of eight months.  In 1753 in Sweden February 17 is followed by March 1 as the country moved from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar.  In 1863 a group of citizens of Geneva founded an International Committee for Relief to the Wounded, which later became known as the International Committee of the Red Cross.  In 1904 Giacomo Puccini's opera "Madama Butterfly" had its world premiere at La Scala in Milan, Italy.  In 1933 Newsweek magazine was first published.  Also in 1933 Blondie Boopadoop married Dagwood Bumstead.  In 1959 the first weather satellite, Vanguard 2, was launched to measure cloud-cover distribution.  In 1965 the Ranger 8 probe launches on its mission to photograph the Mare Tranquillitatis region of the Moon in preparation for the manned Apollo missions.  In 1972 the cumulative sales of the Volkswagen Beetle exceeded those of the Ford Model T.  Also in 1972, President Nixon departed on his historic trip to China. In 1996 World chess champion Garry Kasparov beat IBM supercomputer "Deep Blue," winning a six-game match in Philadelphia..  Also in 1996 NASA's Discovery Program begins as the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft lifted off on the first mission ever to orbit and land on an asteroid, 433 Eros.


Three day weekend coming up for those of us who are lucky enough to have federal holidays off! 

The reason it is LIncoln and Washington is that we used to celebrate both of their birthdays in February, but then it turned into "Presidents' Day" when MLK day was created in January.  Of course, I am old enough to remember when Good Friday was a Federal and state holiday....  Hadn't heard that it was now to celebrate all holders of the office though.   Interestingly, we now have five living ex presidents, which doesn't happen very often!  

Whether you have off or not, whether you hit the sales or stay home, hope you have an awesome weekend!
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Friday, February 17, 2017

Today is the 5th day of the 7th week, the 16th day of the 2nd month, the 47th day of 2017, and: 
  • Do a Grouch a Favor Day
  • Independence day:  Lithuania from Russia and Germany in 1918
  • Kyoto Protocol Day
  • National Almond Day
  • National Innovation Day
ON THIS DAY:  In 116 Emperor Trajan sent laureatae to the Roman Senate at Rome on account of his victories and being conqueror of Parthia.  In 1699 the first Leopoldine Diploma was issued by the Holy Roman Emperor, recognizing the Greek Catholic clergy enjoyed the same privileges as Roman Catholic priests in the Principality of Transylvania.  In 1852 Studebaker Brothers wagon company, precursor of the automobile manufacturer, was established.  In 1874 the Silver Dollar became legal US tender.  In 1881 the Canadian Pacific Railway was incorporated by Act of Parliament at Ottawa. In 1923 the burial chamber of King Tutankhamen's recently unearthed tomb was unsealed in Egypt   In 1937 Wallace H Carothers received a United States patent for nylon.  In 1960 the US Navy submarine USS Triton began Operation Sandblast, setting sail from New London, Connecticut, to begin the first submerged circumnavigation of the globe.  In 1961 Explorer 9 (S-56a) was launched.  In 1971 Pierre Trudeau, under opposition attack in the Commons, uttered an apparently unparliamentary expression that he later describes as "fuddle-duddle".  In 1978 the first computer bulletin board system was created (CBBS in Chicago).  In 2005 the Kyoto Protocol that aimed to slow down global warming took effect but the US remains outside it.  In 2006 the last Mobile army surgical hospital (MASH) was decommissioned by the United States Army [Goodbye, Farewell and Amen aired 02.28.1983]. 

Quote of the day:

Loneliness expresses the pain of being alone and solitude expresses the glory of being alone.”
~ Paul Tillich (08.20.1886 – 10.22.1965), a Christian existentialist philosopher and theologian who immigrated to the US in 1933 when he lost his job due to the growing Nazi influence in Germany.

The feeling of dislocation brought about by reading the news of immigrants both legal and illegal being terrorized by government agents knocking on their doors in the very early morning or laying wait for them when they go to pick up their children from school chills my soul.   The stories warning of foreign intervention into our national security and the constant booming reiteration of “fake news” when negative information makes headlines make for uncomfortable reading.  The level of unabashed, uncloaked naked greed of old white rich men who now feel totally empowered to make their lives even more cushy and entitled to do so just boggles my mind.  I sit in front of the computer screen and I am chilled, uncomfortable and overwhelmed   This is more than the President, more than the election – this is a collapse of the society I thought I was living in..

I remember that those caught up in the changes a century ago probably felt totally dislocated just like this; they were anxious and afraid as well.  I hope that we can avoid the cruelty, economic collapses and violent senseless deaths this time around.  I am not a leader to rally folks to work on being better, being caring.  I am not a wise woman who can guide civilization back to being civilized.  I am not sure I am even a good follower for such a person these days as the reality of my own mortality presses upon me.  So I concentrate on the day-to-day details.  I read.  I dive into my 2nd Life.  I find myself sleeping more than is usual. 



Yeah, I’m still anxious
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Thursday, February 16, 2017

and it is Wednesday.....

Today is the 4th day of the 7th week, the 15th day of the 2nd month, the 46th day of 2017 [with 312 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • Angelman Syndrome Day
  • Lupercalia 
  • National Gumdrop Day
  • National Hippo Day
  • National I Want Butterscotch Day
  • Random Acts of Kindness Day
  • Remember the Maine Day – in  1898 the battleship USS Maine exploded and sank in Havana harbor in Cuba, killing 274 leading the US to declare war on Spain.
  • Singles Awareness Day
  • St Skeletor's Day  -- a day for those “lost souls who don’t have anyone to love
  • Susan B Anthony Day --  born in 1820, she was the co-founder of the National Woman Suffrage Association Westminster Dog Show
ON THIS DAY:  In 590 Khosrau II was crowned king of Persia.  In 1493, while on board the Niña, Christopher Columbus writes an open letter (widely distributed upon his return to Portugal) describing his discoveries and the unexpected items he came across in the New World.  In 1764 Pierre Laclède founded a fur post in Spanish Louisiana that became the city of St. Louis (Missouri, USA).  In 1946 ENIAC, the first electronic general-purpose computer, was formally dedicated at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.  In 1965 a new red-and-white maple leaf design was adopted as the flag of Canada, replacing the old Canadian Red Ensign banner.  In 1971 the decimalization of British coinage was completed on Decimal Day.  In 2001 the first draft of the complete human genome was published in Nature

Quote of the day

Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone's face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.” 

~ Henri Nouwen [Dutch Catholic priest, professor, writer and theologian]

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Wednesday, February 15, 2017

a day for celebrating love

Today is the 3rd day of the 7th week, the 14th day of the 2nd month, the 45th day of 2017 [with only 313 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day
  • Extraterrestrial Culture Day
  • Extraterrestrial Visitor Day
  • Frederick Douglass Day
  • International Book Giving Day
  • International Quirky Alone Day
  • League of Women Voters Day -- founded in 1920
  • Library Lovers Day
  • National Call in Single Day
  • National Condom Day
  • National Cream-filled Chocolates Day
  • National Ferris Wheel Day
  • National Have a Heart Day
  • National Organ Donor Day
  • National Women's Heart Day
  • Pet Theft Awareness Day
  • Race Relation Day
  • Read to Your Child Day
  • Safer Internet Day
  • Singles Awareness Day or Singles Appreciation Day
  • Valentine’s Day
ON THIS DAY:  In 748 the Hashimi rebels under Abu Muslim Khorasani took Merv, capital of the Umayyad province Khorasan, marking the consolidation of the Abbasid revolt.  In 1778 the US flag was formally recognized by a foreign naval vessel for the first time, when French Admiral Toussaint-Guillaume Picquet de la Motte rendered a nine gun salute to USS Ranger, commanded by John Paul Jones.  In 1779 James Cook was killed by Native Hawaiians near Kealakekua on the Island of Hawaii.  In 1876 Alexander Graham Bell applied for a patent for the telephone, as does Elisha Gray.  In 1918 the Soviet Union adopted the Gregorian calendar (on 1 February according to the Julian calendar).  In 1924 the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company changed its name to International Business Machines Corporation (IBM).  In 1929 the St. Valentine's Day Massacre took place in a Chicago garage as seven rivals of Al Capone's gang were gunned down.  In 1961 Element 103, Lawrencium, was first synthesized at the University of California.  In 1989 Iranian Muslim leader Ayatollah Khomeini issued a death threat against British author Salman Rushdie and his publishers over the book Satanic Verses.  In 1990 the Voyager 1 spacecraft took the photograph of planet Earth that later become famous as Pale Blue Dot.  In 2000 the spacecraft NEAR Shoemaker entered orbit around asteroid 433 Eros, the first spacecraft to orbit an asteroid.  In 2005 YouTube was launched by a group of college students, eventually becoming the largest video sharing website in the world and a main source for viral videos. 

Years ago, when I was working at Commercial & Farmers Bank, Lola was my boss for a time.  Each and every Valentine’s Day, she would bring in and distribute pieces of chocolate and single roses, saying that every woman deserved flowers and candy on this day.  Lola and I had our differences and they were pretty profound, but this little act of kindness that made everyone smile is what I always remember on this day….




Whether you are celebrating alone or with someone, I hope you have something sweet to eat and something good to smell today!
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A week of Cupid .... Or not

Today is the 2nd day of the 7th week, the 13th day of the 2nd month, the 321st day of 2017, and: 

ON THIS DAY:  In 1322 the central tower of Ely Cathedral fell on the night of 12th–13th.  In 1633 Galileo Galilei arrived in Rome for his trial before the Inquisition.   In 1635 the Boston Public Latin School, the first public school in what is now the United States, was founded.  In 1867 work began on the covering of the Senne, burying Brussels's primary river and creating the modern central boulevards.  In 1880 Thomas Edison observed what came to be known as the Edison effect.  In 1954 Frank Selvy became the only NCAA Division I basketball player ever to score 100 points in a single game.  In 1960, with the success of a nuclear test codenamed "Gerboise Bleue", France became the fourth country to possess nuclear weapons.  In 2000 Charles Schulz's final "Peanuts" comic strip ran in Sunday newspapers, the day after the cartoonist died at age 77.  In 2004 the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics announced the discovery of the universe's largest known diamond, white dwarf star BPM 37093 -- astronomers named this star "Lucy" after The Beatles' song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds".  In 2011 for the first time in more than 100 years the Umatilla, an American Indian tribe, were able to hunt and harvest a bison just outside Yellowstone National Park, restoring a centuries-old tradition guaranteed by a treaty signed in 1855.  In 2012 the European Space Agency (ESA) conducted the first launch of the European Vega rocket from Europe's spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

So the week prior to the 14th  is coming to a close -- here is a list of the Valentine and anti-Valentine days:

Rose Day             VS           Slap Day

Propose Day       VS           Kick Day

Chocolate Day    VS           Perfume Day

Teddy Day            VS           Flirting Day

Promise Day       VS           Confession Day

Hug Day               VS           Missing Day

Kiss Day              VS           Break Up Day

Don’t know when or how this one day suddenly became a whole week, but I’m sure the card companies, chocolatiers, and florists are pretty happy about it.  And although most of us think of wearing red [and hearts] for Valentine’s Day, apparently you can color code your wardrobe to send messages:



All seems unnecessarily complicated to me!  
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Monday, February 13, 2017

potty time

Today is the 6th day of the 6th week, the 10th day of the 2nd month, the 41st day of 2017, and: 
  • All The News That's Fit To Print Day
  • Full Moon -- the Snow Moon as of 7:33 pm EST
  • International Winter Bike to Work Day
  • National Cream Cheese Brownie Day
  • National Flannel Day
  • Plimsoll Day [AKA  a rubber-soled cloth shoe; a sneaker; a tennis shoe]
  • Teddy Day – since this is part of  “Valentine’s Week” I thought it referred to the lingerie item, but apparently it does mean teddy bears
  • The Inbox Day – an UN Observance day dedicated to an email cleaning day inside your inbox 
  • Umbrella Day
ON THIS DAY:  in 1258 Baghdad fell to the Mongols, and the Abbasid Caliphate was destroyed.  In 1870 the YWCA was founded in New York City.  In 1920 Józef Haller de Hallenburg performed symbolic wedding of Poland to the sea, celebrating restitution of Polish access to open sea.  IN 1942 the first gold record was presented to Glenn Miller for "Chattanooga Choo Choo".  In 1947 crowds gathered at shop windows in Paris to see Christian Dior's New Look fashion - longer skirts, nipped-in waists and padded shoulders.  In 1962 Roy Lichtenstein's first solo exhibition opened, and it included Look Mickey, which featured his first employment of Ben-Day dots, speech balloons and comic imagery sourcing, all of which he is now known for.  In 1964 Bob Dylan's album "The Times They Are A-Changin"' was released.  In 1996 IBM supercomputer Deep Blue defeated Garry Kasparov in chess for the first time.  In 2009 the communications satellites Iridium 33 and Kosmos 2251 collided in orbit, destroying both.  In 2016 NASA Voyager is 19 hrs 06 mins 49 secs and Voyager II 15 hrs 49 mins 47 secs of light-travel time from Earth

One of my pet peeves as I go through my day is the state of public restrooms.  My building at work recently renovated and this gem now exists that capsulizes every one of those gripes in one stall:

Now here we have a clear gender gap – I’m betting that every woman was like “oh  no” and every man was like “ I don’t see a problem”.    Let me explain what the issues are: 
  • Doors that swing IN:  this requires you to do a little dance when you are done, squeezing next to the toilet as you try to make room for the door to open, creating a problem with flowing long sweater, vests etc to be actually dunked in the waiting water and generally having you rub up against the porcelain throne
  • The toilet paper dispenser is placed right where you have to try and step to open the door.  Not only does it restrict the space you need to fit into, it has rough edges that will snag clothing
  • And the receptacle for the sanitary supplies and other items you have to get rid of but can’t flush?  Notice that it is behind the toilet, meaning you either have to try and twist around while sitting there to dispose of a messy item or hold it somehow and get up
  • Not visible in the picture:  no vents or air cleaners/fresheners so any smells linger for a good long time and the paper covers are on the back wall  so  you have to reach over the toilet to reach them [creating another opportunity to dunk skirts etc in the water].
Seriously, doesn’t anyone think about how this stuff works?
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Friday, February 10, 2017

Today is the 4th day of the 6th week, the 8th day of the 2nd month, the 39th day of 2017, and: 
  • Boy Scouts Day -- The Boy Scouts of America was incorporated by William D. Boyce in 1910
  • Laugh and Get Rich Day
  • National Kite Flying Day
  • National Molasses Bar Day
  • Opera Day – The first opera in the US was performed in Charleston, SC in 1735 – a popular English ballad opera entitled “Flora
  • Propose Day --  the second day in the Valentine week ((when did it become a week?  I missed that memo….))
ON THIS DAY:  In 421 Constantius III became co-Emperor of the Western Roman Empire.  In 1575 Leiden University was founded, and given the motto Praesidium Libertatis.  In 1693 the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, was granted a charter by King William III and Queen Mary II.  In 1879 Sandford Fleming first proposes adoption of Universal Standard Time, by dividing the world into 24 equal time zones, with standard time within each zone; in lecture at the Canadian Institute in Toronto; idea adopted by North American railways four years later, and by 24 countries at a conference in 1884.  In 1915 D.W. Griffith's silent movie epic about the Civil War, "The Birth of a Nation," premiered in Los Angeles.  In 1946 the first portion of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, the first serious challenge to the popularity of the Authorized King James Version, was published.  In 1952 Queen Elizabeth II took the Oath of Accession to the Throne, following the death two days earlier of her father King George the Sixth, in London, England.  In 1971 NASDAQ, the world's first electronic stock exchange, held its first trading day.  In 1974, after 84 days in space, the crew of Skylab 4, the last crew to visit American space station Skylab, returned to Earth.  In 1983 the Melbourne dust storm hits Australia's second largest city, the result of the worst drought on record and a day of severe weather conditions, a 320 metres (1,050 ft) deep dust cloud envelops the city, turning day to night. 

Quote of the day:  “One of the consolations of old age is the intense pleasure I now get from nature. It seems that in youth I was too busy confronting life and experience to stand still and gaze.”  ~  P. D. James, Time to Be in Earnest  (( no this is not going to be a regular feature, but when I see a quote I like, I’m going to share it, okay? ))

Me?  I’m still wishing my life away….

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Wednesday, February 8, 2017

just another manic Tuesday....

Today is the 3rd day of the 6th week, the 7th day of the 2nd month, the 38th day of 2017 [with 320 shopping days left until Christmas], and: 
  • "e" Day -- since the first 2 digits in the number "e" are 2 and 7  ((bet you didn’t know that “e” was a number!))
  • African American Coaches Day
  • Ballet Day
  • Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
  • Dry Bean Day
  • Independence day: Grenada from the United Kingdom in  1974
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder Day
  • National Fettuccine Alfredo Day
  • Rose Day
  • Send a Card to a Friend Day
  • Wave All Your Fingers at Your Neighbor Day

Quote of the day:  “We lived our lives as if life was forever. To live one’s life without a sense of time is to squander it.”  ~ Diana Trilling, The Beginning of the Journey


ON THIS DAY:  In 457 Leo I the Thracian became emperor of the Byzantine Empire.  IN 1854 a law was approved to found the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, but lectures didn't start until October 16, 1855.  In 1876 the first recorded use of the word "puck", was in a Montreal Gazette article about hockey   In 1904 a fire in Baltimore, Maryland destroyed over 1,500 buildings in 30 hours.  In 1940 the second full-length animated Walt Disney film, Pinocchio, premiered.  In 1964 Beatlemania arrived in the US as the Beatles arrived in New York at the start of their first tour of the United States.  In 1979 Pluto moved inside Neptune's orbit for the first time since either was discovered.  In 1984  astronauts Bruce McCandless II and Robert L. Stewart made the first untethered spacewalk using the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU).  In 2000 Michael Calce, a 16-year-old Montréal hacker using the handle Mafiaboy, pulled off one of the largest denial-of-service attacks ever staged, bringing down several major commercial websites, including,, eBay and Yahoo by using a bot network to gain control of millions of computers.  In 2013 Mississippi officially certified the Thirteenth Amendment, becoming the last state to approve the abolition of slavery in the US.  In 2016 North Korea launched Kwangmyŏngsŏng-4 into outer space.


The moon is waxing gibbous at 86% of full, so I cannot blame the lunar cycle.  Ash Wednesday isn’t until March 1st  so it isn’t Lent yet.  Maybe I am just in the winter doldrums, the same malaise that always impacted the third quarter back when I was back in school.  And as usual, I have one of those sick colds that takes my voice and makes me feel like crap; as usual, after a day of coddling myself, I am back at work, coughing and croaking.  Fortunately I feel better than I sound and the weather is relatively warm, so venturing out wasn’t too burdensome even though I would rather be home.   Cue the usual discussion about staying home VS going to work when you feel lousy because you don’t want to use up your limited PTO.    


Time to gaze at stars since I am not at all interested in my navel and therefore I figure you all aren't either:

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Tuesday, February 7, 2017

the last choice....

At times like this I think of the theme song from M*A*S*H, first the movie and then the TV show – both comedies with some very dark undertones at times. 

“…That game of life is hard to play
I'm gonna lose it anyway
The losing card of some delay
So this is all I have to say 

That suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
I can take or leave it if I please

The sword of time will pierce our skin
It doesn't hurt when it begins
But as it works it's way on in
The pain grows stronger, watch it burn…”

My mother committed suicide – but she was old, tired, sick and going broke.   She was at the end of the road, and she didn’t see any reason to fight against the ending.   At least that is how I assume she felt, it isn’t like she said anything to me, but I felt that I had closure anyway and was content to live with her choice.  Although there were many details to attend to, there really wasn’t a huge impact from her choice on others.

My stepson committed suicide last week, and I am finding that harder to live with.   Not that we were close – he had abused my trust in a way that I could not countenance and we were estranged for the past seven years or so – so it isn’t so much that I am going to miss him as his mother and sister will.    Billy made his choice for himself regardless of the impact on those around him.   His mother, already frail, may possess a backbone of tempered steel, but she was close to complete collapse and now has his estate to deal with.  His sister is simply overwhelmed, trying to cope with this while being strong for her mother, and hurting.  His nephew will bear the burden of being there for both of them.  The girlfriend is now alone.  The friend who was upstairs and then found his body is a total nervous wreck.  There is little anyone can do for any of them but try to be supportive and hope that helps a bit.  What haunts all of us – family, friends, co-workers -- is not understanding why three weeks before his 57th birthday, he made the choice to terminate his life.  Was there some unknown stress in his life that was just too much to handle?  Was it the drag of everyday things, that tired feeling as you get up and face another work day?  Was it an exaggerated concern about the fate of the country as the news hammers home the changes under the current administration?  Was it intimations of his own mortality as his birthday approached, that feeling of age bearing down on you -- joints creaking, muscles aching, slowing down, less stamina – for which there is ultimately no remedy? 

The common dominator in both of these final choices?  Neither my mother nor my stepson seem to me to have had any hope left to hold onto when they gazed into the future, and therefore they both opted to log out of their RL in much the same way that I log out of my 2nd Life.  

They decided they were done.  

Totally, finally, irrevocably done.
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Friday, February 3, 2017

take time to take stock

Today is 5th day of the 5th week, the 2nd day of the 2nd month, the 33rd day of 2017, and: 
  • Ayn Rand Day
  • California Kiwifruit Day
  • Candelmas
  • Crêpe Day or La Chandeleur
  • Groundhog Day or Groundhog Job Shadow Day
  • Heavenly Hash Day
  • Hedgehog Day
  • Imbolc
  • Marmot Day
  • Self Renewal Day
  • Sled Dog Day
  • World Play Your Ukulele Day
  • World Wetlands Day
If you are interested in assessing your life and goals on this day that is so important in the pagan calendar, here is the guide that was shared with me:

1st House (Aries): Vita, Life. House of Self: Physical appearance, traits and characteristics. First impressions. General outlook into the world. Ego. Beginnings and initiatives. Possible Goals: Get a new haircut, enhance your wardrobe, invest in dry cleaning, etc.
2nd House (Taurus): Lucrum, Wealth. House of Value: Material and immaterial things of certain value. Money. Belongings, property, acquisitions. Cultivation and growth. Substance. Self-Worth. Possible Goals: new siding for the house, better budgeting, etc.
3rd House (Gemini): Fratres, Brothers. House of Communications: Lower education and childhood environment. Mental facilities. Siblings. Neighborhood matters. Short, local travel and transportations. Possible goals: gossip less, resolve to be more in contact with friends/family, make or re-establish ties, plan a daytrip or weekend getaway, etc.
4th House (Cancer): Genitor, Parent. House of Home and Family: Ancestry, heritage, roots. Early foundation and environment. Mother or mothers as figure. The caretaker of the household. Cyclic end of matters. Possible Goals: cultivate family relationships, explore a family tree, visit relatives, etc.
5th House (Leo): Nati,Children. House of Pleasure: Recreational and leisure activities. Things which makes for enjoyment and entertainment. Games and gambling. Children. Love affairs and sex. Creative self-expression. Possible goals: write more, start a journal, plan a real vacation, reconnect with lovers, etc.
6th House (Virgo) Valetudo, Health. House of Health: Routine tasks and duties. Skills or training acquired. Jobs and Employments. Health and overall well-being. Service performed for others. Caretaking. Pets and small domestic animals. Possible goals: walk the dog more, GET a pet, eat healthier, work out more, all the nifty things your doctor wants you to do, etc.
7th House (Libra) Uxor, Spouse. House of Partnerships: Close, confidante-like relationships. Marriage and business partners. Agreements and treaties. Matters dealing with diplomatic relations of all kinds, including open (known) enemies. Attraction to qualities we admire from the other partner. Possible goals: establish better partnering techniques, cultivate the ones you have, etc.
8th House (Scorpio) Mors, Death. House of Reincarnation: Cycles of Deaths And Rebirth. Sexual relationships and deeply committed relationships of all kinds. Joint funds, finances. Other person’s resource. Occult, psychic and taboo matters. Regeneration. Self-transformation. Possible goals: study numerology or some other magick, try a new position(you all can figure this out), cultivate a joint account for better recreational activities, etc.
9th House (Sagittarius) Iter, Journeys. House of Philosophy: Foreign travel and foreign countries. Culture. Long distance travels and journeys. Religion. Law and ethics. Higher education. Knowledge. Experience through expansion. Possible goals: learn something new, go back to college, take a class, explore a new topic, etc.
10th House (Capricorn) Regnum, Kingdom. House of Social Status: Ambitions. Motivations. Career. Status in society. Government. Authority. Father or father figure. The breadwinner of the household. One’s public appearance/impression at large(audience). Possible goals: become better at public speaking, obtain a raise or promotion, learn a new skill to put on a resume, etc.
11th House (Aquarius) Benefacta, Friendship. House of Friendships: Friends and acquaintances of like-minded attitudes. Groups, clubs and societies. Higher associations. Benefits and fortunes from career. One’s hopes and wishes. Possible goals: attend or organize charitable event, take up a sport with friends such as golf or racquetball, invite friends over for a monthly friendly card game, invent pub-night or movie night, etc.
12th House (Pisces) Carcer, Prison. House of Self-Undoing: Mysticism. Places of seclusion such as hospitals, prisons and institutions, including self-imposed imprisonments. Things which are not apparent to self, yet clearly seen by others. Elusive, clandestine, secretive or unbeknownst matters. Retreat, reflection and self-sacrifice. Unconscious/subconscious. Unknown enemies. Possible goals: face internal demons, observe a personal bad habit then break it, meditate more, etc.
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Thursday, February 2, 2017

To every non-Christian in the world, especially Muslims?  Please do not judge Christianity by what is happening now and I hope you can find it in your hearts to pray for us.  To refugees -- in this time of your greatest need, I can only apologize, knowing that I will be held accountable at the end of my days.  To the citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen -- I can only apologize.  



I am the descendant of immigrants, all of whom arrived penniless upon these shores to find a better life.  My maternal grandfather's grandmother was from Ireland.  My maternal grandmother's father was from Germany.  My paternal grandmother's father was a coal miner like his father before him was in Wales.  We are not quite sure where my paternal grandfather's family originally came from -- they hunted and fished and intermarried into the Nanticoke tribe. My family came to America in different centuries, from different countries to escape famine, to find religious freedom, to look for work, to seek adventure.  We were met with some hostility and prejudice, but in the end?  We were able to become Americans. 


To the 62,979,636 voters [28.76%] and the 92,671,979 [about 40%] who didn't vote -- you elected Donald J Trump, didn't you listen when he told you this was what he was going to do?

1 Comment - Read Comment | Add Comment | Permalink | Saturday, January 28, 2017

Frank's son

On Tuesday night, January 24th, I received a phone call telling me that Billy had shot himself that afternoon.

When Frank and I became involved, I knew that he had older children – Billy was the oldest and 10 years younger than I.  I was very nervous about meeting the two of them, but both of them were friendly and tolerant even in the face of their mother’s understandable animosity    Billy in particular was around a great deal – we would swing by the house in Arbutus on a regular basis, just dropping in to say hi.   We went on vacations together, we would visit Billy at work when he was at Ritz Camera in the mall.   When Frank had his second stroke, Billy was with us and I remember him curled up on the floor of the emergency room crying as Frank convulsed and the staff worked frantically around him. 

When someone dies, particularly when it is a violent and unexpected death, you tend to go back in time, remembering the good things about them, dwelling on happier times.  I will remember the slender young man who believed in ghosts, who was an excellent photographer, who greeted me into the family with easy acceptance, who looked like Frank and acted much like him – but lacked his strengths even while embracing his weaknesses.    Billy adored his father and wanted to be like him.  When Frank died, Billy’s eulogy was partially about how strongly he identified with him, to the point of claiming the nickname of “little Frankie” – which had all of us shifting and glancing at each other.  Later when I drily commented in the car that was the first time I had heard the nickname in the 20 years I had been in the family, Billy snapped back at me that if I was really family, I would’ve known.  Then his sister piped up that it was the first time she had heard of it too and there was silence.  Afterwards he was very forceful and not very considerate about collecting things of Frank’s that he considered family property that should not remain with me but I assumed that was part of his grieving process.   To me, it appeared that he never quite recovered from the loss of his father, who had supported and guided him.   When Frank was moved to his final resting place in 2009, Billy had complete control over a ceremony he arranged -- it was the last time that I saw him.  As time wore on, he made it  quite clear that I and my kids were not his family, stating we had only been incidentally in his life because of Frank.  I accepted this as I had already withdrawn from active contact with him for a completely different reason, even while strengthening ties to his sister.   Cheryl is family and so is her son, no matter what the technical and legalities say.   

Billy was 56 and his birthday was in three weeks.  There was no note, no warning, no sign of depression.  He had just finished renovating his house, was out of debt, had a steady job, and didn’t have any medical or relationship issues that were known.  We’ll never know why he decided not to renew his lease or why he couldn’t face another trip around the sun, we just have to bid him farewell and live with his final choice.




And our family adds to the statistics   
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Thursday, January 26, 2017

NOT complaining....

Today is the 3rd day of the 4th week, the 24th day of the 1st month, the 24th day of 2017, and: 
  • Beer Can Appreciation Day
  • Belly Laugh Day
  • Feast of Our Lady of Peace (Roman Catholic Church)
  • International Mobile Phone Recycling Day
  • Today is National "Just Do It" Day
  • Today is National Compliment Day
  • National Eskimo Pie Patent Day
  • National Lobster Thermidor Day
  • National Peanut Butter Day
  • Speak Up and Succeed Day
  • Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day
ON THIS DAY:  In 41 Roman Emperor Caligula, known for his eccentricity and sadistic despotism, was assassinated by his disgruntled Praetorian Guards who then proclaimed Caligula's uncle Claudius as Emperor.  In 1848 James W. Marshall found gold at Sutter's Mill near Sacramento, California.  In 1857 the University of Calcutta was formally founded as the first fully fledged university in South Asia.  In 1908 the first Boy Scout troop was organized in England by Robert Baden-Powell.  In 1916 in Brushaber v. Union Pacific Railroad Co, the Supreme Court of the United States declared the federal income tax constitutional.  In 1918 the Gregorian calendar was introduced in Russia by decree of the Council of People's Commissars effective February 14(NS).  In 1946 the United Nations General Assembly passed its first resolution to establish the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission.  In 1972 Japanese Sgt Shoichi Yokoi was found hiding in a Guam jungle, where he had been since before the end of World War II.   In 1978 Soviet satellite Kosmos 954, with a nuclear reactor on board, burnt up in Earth's atmosphere, scattering radioactive debris over Canada's Northwest Territories [only 1% was recovered].  In 1984 Apple Computer placed the Macintosh personal computer on sale in the United States.  In 1986 the Voyager 2 space probe swept past Uranus, coming within 50,679 miles of the seventh planet from the sun [it is currently 15 hrs 49 mins 15 secs of light-travel time from Earth].  In 1990 Japan launched Hiten, the country's first lunar probe, the first robotic lunar probe since the Soviet Union's Luna 24 in 1976, and the first lunar probe launched by a country other than Soviet Union or the United States.  In 2003 the United States Department of Homeland Security officially began operation.  In2004 NASA's Opportunity rover landed on Mars three weeks after its identical twin, Spirit.

Quote of the day:  “Complaining not only ruins everybody else's day, it ruins the complainer's day, too. The more we complain, the more unhappy we get.”  ~ Dennis Prager [an American conservative and nationally syndicated radio talk show host, columnist, author, and public speaker]

Trump watch:   So far he is following the SOP of Republicans [including defunding International Planned Parenthood].  Federal employees are feeling rather worried after rhetoric about cuts and now the job freeze.  Formally withdrawing from the trade treaty actually has supporters across the board – I think it was a mistake.  And I strongly object to the authorization of the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines.  The “alternative facts” debacle, DJT’s constant reiteration that he won more bigly than he is given credit for, the shutdown of gov’t social media, all have 1984 overtones [I wonder how many people have decided to read that book now?].  I submitted another story to to verify if he did indeed ban the general public from communication with the White House.  And the Trump supporters that I know personally remain exultant, assuring me that all I have to do is watch, he will do great things for America, including creating new jobs

Me?  I am just tired today -- tired of struggling with calories and carbs, tired of trying to start a consistent exercise regime, and very tired of getting up and working for a living while still trying to wrangle bills with indifferent success.  Obviously I need to [1]  find a miracle pill that will solve all those blood sugar and weight problems without any real effort on my part,  and [2] win either the lottery or a sweepstakes. 


I’ll let you know how that goes….. 
1 Comment - Read Comment | Add Comment | Permalink | Tuesday, January 24, 2017

23 JAN 2017

Today is the 2nd day of the 4th week, the 23rd day of the 1st month, the 23rd day of 2017 [with 335 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • Better Business Communication Day
  • Community Manager Appreciation Day
  • Measure Your Feet Day
  • National Handwriting Day
  • National Pie Day
  • National Rhubarb Pie Day
  • Snowplow Mailbox Hockey Day
ON THIS DAY:  In 393 Roman Emperor Theodosius I proclaimed his eight-year-old son Honorius co-emperor.  In 1368 Zhu Yuanzhang ascended the throne of China as the Hongwu Emperor, initiating Ming dynasty rule over China that would last for three centuries.  In 1546 François Rabelais published the Tiers Livre, his sequel to Gargantua and Pantagruel.  In 1571 the Royal Exchange opened in London.  In 1957 American inventor Walter Frederick Morrison sold the rights to his flying disc to the Wham-O toy company, which later renames it the "Frisbee".  In 1986 the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted its first members: Little Richard, Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Fats Domino, The Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley.  In2003 a very weak signal from Pioneer 10 was detected for the last time, but no usable data can be extracted. 

I didn’t march on Saturday.  No I was not working or sick.  Oh,  I seriously considered going – bought clear messenger bags for myself and Kit, and got up before 5 AM that morning.  I watched the crowds swell with a mixture of feelings, of which regret was prominent.   I don’t have an easy or comfortable answer when the first question this morning has been “were you there?”   I will not make excuses or dodge.  The march was good showmanship, garnered a lot of attention to the fact that DJT and the Republicans do not have a mandate, and it made every woman who participated feel like part of a sisterhood. 

I was not there with them  -- not physically, not even “in spirit” -- no alternative facts here  Oh I feel the tug, make no mistake.  I am full of intense loathing and acute fear as to where this new path is taking us and want desperately to see social progress not regression.  Give DJT a chance?  To do what?  Millions took to the streets on Saturday ostensibly  to express opposition, to refuse to be silenced, to celebrate unity – but the message I heard most consistently was simply “I hate Trump” and hating one person was not enough to galvanize me to protest in the street.  I made a choice and now I have to own it -- but I feel a little like I lost my woman and my activist cards……   

So enough about what I didn’t do, what am I going to do?  I eschewed the outlet of rallying in solidarity and the anonymity of a huge crowd -- now I have to figure out how to watch, how to witness and how to translate this into actionable items for both  local and the 2018 congressional elections.  

1 Comment - Read Comment | Add Comment | Permalink | Monday, January 23, 2017

DJT is the 45th President of the United States

Yesterday I worried.  Dan Rather did a rather substantive post that explains pretty accurately how I felt, how I feel.  I was not at all impressed with DJT’s speech – it was uninspiring, dystopian and full of grandiose statements with no substantive plans that sounded to me more like a campaign speech than a call to unity or even action.  But then again, I freely admit that I don’t like him and therefore perhaps need to give him a break.
In his first day, in the midst of all the hoopla, President Trump:
·         signed a proclamation for a National Day of Patriotism -- no details available on what this will be
·         signed formal nominations for his Cabinet picks -- SOP
·         signed a waiver allowing retired Marine General James Mattis to become the new Defense Secretary, despite a law that would have required him to be out of active military duty for seven years
·         suspended a housing order that had benefited people buying new homes by reducing the amount of mortgage insurance needed
·         updated the official White House website –  the “issues” page lays out the coming agenda. 
·         signed an executive order directing government agencies to scale back Affordable Care Act regulations, allowing agencies to delay or waive provisions of the law
·         ordered a freeze on all pending government regulations in order to review and approve them -- SOP
·         took over the social media accounts for the White House – by the way, folks, if you signed up to follow @POTUS and @VP, you are subscribed no matter who the president is so stop complaining that Twitter did something wrong.
·         ordered the  Department of the Interior  to idle its Twitter accounts after the National Park Service posted  pictures of the inauguration crowds from 2009 and 2017 side-by-side "... All bureaus and the department have been directed by incoming administration to shut down Twitter platforms immediately until further notice".  The following was posted by @NatlParkService , after receiving “social media guidance” [presumably from the new administration] this morning:  "We regret the mistaken RTs from our account yesterday and look forward to continuing to share the beauty and history of our parks with you".   Here is the offending picture – 2009 on the left and 2017 on the right.
I didn’t march today and that bothers me.  But I still feel we need to give the new president a chance, that protesting simply because I despise the man is unfair and the demonstrations are a failure to be willing to listen to almost a third of the country.  

All in all it has been an inauspicious start and did nothing to ally my fears and concerns. 
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Saturday, January 21, 2017

Dear Mr. Trump....

Dear Mr. President,

I have tweeted to you more than once, but being neither high-profile nor vital to your concerns, I doubt you paid much attention.

No I did not vote for you.  It wasn’t that I was enamored of your opponent – I was not.  And it was not because of your marital history [I myself have been married thrice], not because of your reality shows, not because of your business practices, not because of your petulant and childish comments on Twitter, not even because of your old white man privileged point of view that discounts and disparages anyone who is not white, male and rich [in that order] – even though I am most definitely not okay with your expressed point of view.   No, the thing that finally decided me to cast my vote against you was your comment that in the third debate that you  “will keep you in suspense” when questioned directly as to whether you  would accept the outcome should Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton prevail on Nov 8, later joking that you would totally accept the results if you won.  To this day, I am convinced that you have no concept of just how radical and troubling that statement was – and that it should’ve disqualified you from holding any office, much less the presidency.

62,979,636 voters of the 218,959,000 citizens registered to vote
[28.76%] and 306 Electors in the Electoral College disagreed with me -- and today you took your place as our 45th president.

So, what will “make America great again”?  Well first it is my expectation that you will make it clear that that tolerance and diversityIS what America stands for – and here is my list of tangible items:
  • ·        Economic and social programs that will encourage and support the vanishing middle class – this will address the rampant income inequity, the issue of wage gaps suffered by women and minorities, and help strengthen families by providing a better work/life balance.  AND we need to do a better job of taking care of those in need.
  • ·        Reforming health care in such a way that insurance, medical and pharmaceutical companies are made non-profit or not-for-profit so they no longer have an incentive to make money off of our misery and need
  • ·        Education programs that stop squabbling about proficiency VS growth and  [1] start holding kids and parents as well as teachers accountable for mastering basic skills and [2] address the changes that tech has wrought
  • ·        Adjusting the criminal system to be more equitable in its treatment of citizens and less focused on seeing how many folks can be thrown behind bars
  • ·        A foreign policy that doesn’t involve selfishness and manipulation but acknowledges our responsibility to actually help others
  • ·        Funding research and development so that once again we can reach for the stars.
You do these things, or at least set the wheels in motion to get them done?  Then we will be copasetic.   If you keep turning to the dark side?  You and I are going to be enemies indeed.  The choice is yours – choose wisely. 

I  -- no WE -- will be watching.   
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Friday, January 20, 2017

Inaugeration eve....

Today is the 5th day of the 3rd week, the 19th day of the 1st month, the 19th day of 2017 [with 339 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • Artist as Outlaw Day
  • Brew a Potion Day
  • Get to Know Your Customer Day
  • Good Memory Day
  • National Popcorn Day
  • New Friends Day
  • Robert E. Lee Day [AKA Lee’s Birthday and Confederate Heroes Day (Texas)] –  he was born on this day in 1807 and the 3rd Thursday in January is a state holiday in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, and Florida   
  • Tenderness Toward Existence Day -- Galway Kinnell of all poems and the text of all loves
  • Thank Your Mentor Day
  • Theophany / Epiphany (Eastern and Oriental Orthodoxy)
  • Tin Can Day
  • Women's Healthy Weight Day
  • World Day of Migrants and Refugees
ON THIS DAY:  In 379 Emperor Gratian elevated Flavius Theodosius at Sirmium to Augustus, and gave him authority over all the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire.  In 1607 San Agustin Church in Manila was officially completed; it is the oldest church still standing in the Philippines.  In 1685 Robert de La Salle misses Mississippi and landed in Matagorda Bay, Texas  In 1788 the second group of ships of the First Fleet arrived at Botany Bay.  IN 1829 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust: The First Part of the Tragedy was performed for the first time.  In 1853 Giuseppe Verdi's opera Il trovatore was performed for the first time in Rome.  IN 1883 the first electric lighting system employing overhead wires, built by Thomas Edison, began service at Roselle, New Jersey.  In 1915 Georges Claude patented the neon discharge tube for use in advertising.  In 1920 the United States Senate voted against joining the League of Nations.  In 1937 Howard Hughes set a new air record by flying from Los Angeles to New York City in seven hours, 28 minutes, 25 seconds.  In 1940 You Nazty Spy!, the very first Hollywood film of any kind to satirize Adolf Hitler and the Nazis premiered, starring The Three Stooges with Moe Howard as the character "Moe Hailstone".  In 1953 almost 72% of all television sets in the United States are tuned into I Love Lucy to watch Lucy give birth.  In 1978 the last Volkswagen Beetle made in Germany left VW's plant in Emden [Beetle production in Latin America continues until 2003].  In 1983 the Apple Lisa, the first commercial personal computer from Apple Inc to have a graphical user interface and a computer mouse, was announced.  In 1986 the first IBM PC computer virus was released into the wild. A boot sector virus dubbed (c)Brain -- it was created by the Farooq Alvi Brothers in Lahore, Pakistan, reportedly to deter unauthorized copying of the software they had written.  In 2006 an unmanned NASA spacecraft blasted off on a 3 billion-mile journey to Pluto. 

I do not live in DC and I do not think of myself as a District resident.  I moved down here from the Baltimore area because the last four employers were a tremendous commute from where I was living in Randallstown.  Now I live in a NW suburb of DC [White Oak] and work in another NW suburb [Kensington], so I don’t have to drive downtown on a daily basis.  On days like today as the city hunkers down for the inauguration celebrations and/or demonstrations, I realize just how disruptive this can be for everyone in the area.   There has definitely been an influx of old rich white men with big limos sporting tans and coifed hair and their trophy wives – something of a 1% cliché that I have to admit I didn’t expect to see with this “populist” President.   I guess I was picturing something more like Andrew Jackson’s inauguration…..

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Thursday, January 19, 2017

on the 18th day of 2017

Today is the 4th day of the 3rd week, the 18th day of the 1st month, the 18th day of 2017, and: 
  • Maintenance Day
  • National Gourmet Coffee Day
  • National Peking Duck Day
  • National Sanctity of Human Life Day
  • National Winnie the Pooh Day – author AA Milne was born in 1882 and the books started being published in 1926.
  • Thesaurus Day
I wonder if every parent reads Winnie the Pooh to their kids, or if this an indication of my cultural background?   Certainly Disney has brought the loveable old bear into many households across continents  –  movies, TV and online, rides in the parks, merchandising, and song.   My son never quite got into Pooh, but my daughter’s favorite Disney character is Eeyore, and I am quite fond of Piglet – and all three of us know the song by heart, having sung it together many times.  I never quite understood the entire intellectual property fight despite reading up on it -- I came to the conclusion the heirs to the author felt that they weren’t getting enough income because the original deal was a bargain for the company.   Disney, after all, gets sued regularly just because they have money, IMNSHO, which makes legitimate complaints difficult to winnow out and address.  

I have no plans at the moment to demonstrate the day after the inauguration.  Women are coming from out of town in droves to be here, to march, to show DJT,  reactionaries, and the world that we will not be discarded, discounted or disparaged.     Kit would totally march on Saturday, but cannot do so without me – well not me in particular but an escort who is willing to go  -- so I would have a companion.  The weather will be balmy for January in DC.  It appears to be quite well organized.  I am more-or-less local.  They will be congregating at the intersection of Independence Avenue SW and 3rd Street SW at 10AM.  SO WHY AM I NOT GOING?    After all, I have been extremely perturbed by the alt-right victories of late, and want the bastions of old white male privilege to know that we aren’t going to let them rule the country and undo all the social progress that has been made.  What better way to make a strong statement, to show my children and grandchildren that I am not afraid to take a stand?

And yet?  I don’t quite believe in this march.  First, although I consider myself a political activist, I haven’t demonstrated since the night I watched LBJ announce on TV that he would not seek a second term.   I watched that proud man stand there after years of public service, and it was heartbreaking to realize that I and demonstrators like me had driven him out of office, pounding at his flaws, screaming defiance at the wheeling/dealing, ignoring any accomplishments or good intentions – in short, negating his entire legacy until he agreed to leave.   Quite frankly, I was deeply  ashamed of myself in that moment, realizing that I had become the non-listening, closed-minded fanatic that  I was so actively despising.  I do not want to do that again.  Second, whether I like it or not, my ideas and values are not shared by a considerable number of folks living in the same country as me, and I cannot --  I will not --  believe that every one of them is a prejudiced, ignorant, deplorable.  This march seems to be a refusal to listen to the opposition, screaming that those who do not agree with me are against me and that just seems like it is promoting polarization.  And I will not succumb to peer pressure to do something either.

And yet?  Part of me wants to be there and  wonders if it is my concerns about safety [DC is crawling with avid, celebrating Trump supporters at the moment], worries about logistics [ having a place to go potty or get water, or find a seat],  or just plain inertia that is holding me back from what is an historic outpouring of liberal values that I espouse with all my heart.   




I might wake up early that morning and decide at the 11th hour to show up…. 


But I rather doubt it.  
1 Comment - Read Comment | Add Comment | Permalink | Wednesday, January 18, 2017

the 17th day of 2017

Today is the 3rd day of the 3rd week, the 17th day of the 1st month, the 17th day of 2017 [with only 341 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • Ben Franklin Day -- Statesman and inventor, he was born in Boston in 1706
  • Blessing of the Animals at the Cathedral Day
  • Cable Car Day
  • Customer Service Day
  • Ditch New Years Resolutions Day
  • Hot-Buttered Rum Day
  • Hot Heads Chili Day
  • International Mentoring Day
  • Judgment Day
  • Kid Inventors' Day
  • National Hot Heads Chili Day
  • National Bootleggers Day
  • Popeye Day
  • Printing Ink Day
  • Rid the World of Fad Diet and Gimmicks Day
ON THIS DAY:  In 38 BC Octavian divorced his wife Scribonia and married Livia Drusilla, ending the fragile peace between the Second Triumvirate and Sextus Pompey.  In 1377 Pope Gregory XI moved the Papacy back to Rome from Avignon.  In 1773 Captain James Cook commanded the first expedition to sail south of the Antarctic Circle.  In1912 Captain Robert Falcon Scott reached the South Pole, one month after Roald Amundsen.  In 1946 the UN Security Council held its first session.  In 1950 the Great Brink's Robbery -- 11 thieves stole more than $2 million from an armored car company's offices in Boston.  In 1997 a Delta II carrying a GPS2R satellite exploded 13 seconds after launch, dropping 250 tons of burning rocket remains around the launch pad at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.  In 2007 the Doomsday Clock was set to five minutes to midnight in response to North Korea's nuclear testing (( the clock was set at 3 minutes to midnight in 1987 and again in 2015 )). 

It was a year ago that I had Kula put to sleep.  I remember that day so clearly.  I held him for almost an hour before we left for the vet, petting him, thanking him for being with me, telling him how much I loved him,  listening to that loud purr for the last time and hoping that he would forgive me.  And I think he knew that was his last trip

I had never had a dog or a cat while growing up [allergies] and you just don’t get as fond of parakeets and fish, although I do remember crying when Tweety died.   Even now I question my decision, wondering if I could’ve kept Kula a bit longer, whether or not I made the call based on my convenience versus his welfare.  Each time I decide that I would’ve done the same thing – he had lost control of his bowels even tho it was obvious he was trying to use the litter box, had stopped eating, and was just generally lethargic; he was never going to get better no matter how much medication or special diet we used.  I missed him sorely and grieved.

Finally, I decided that I wanted another cat and on July 2nd , not quite six months later, Panda adopted me.  My original intent was to get a much younger cat, one that I could live with for many years, and a male [because I think they tend to be more lovey-dovey], so it wasn’t a slam dunk.  I will admit that I thought long and hard about getting a senior cat, knowing that I was going to be in the same position that I was with Kula.   Kula was eight when he moved in and we had a little over eight years together.  Panda is nine and I hope to have just as long if not longer with her.  It has been a bit of an adjustment for her – last year was a tough one for her as she lost the only home she had ever known, ending up with a complete stranger.

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Friday the 13th 2017

Today is the 6th day of the 2nd week, the 13th day of the 1st month, the 13th day of 2017, and: 
  • Blame Someone Else Day
  • Friday the 13th – did you stop and realize every month that starts with a Sunday has a Friday the 13th?
  • International Skeptics Day
  • Make Your Dream Come True Day
  • National Peach Melba Day
  • National Rubber Ducky Day
  • National Sticker Day
  • Old New Year's Eve (Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Serbia, Montenegro, Republic of Srpska, Republic of Macedonia)
  • Public Radio Broadcasting Day
  • Sidereal winter solstice's eve celebrations in South and Southeast Asian cultures; the last day of the six-month Dakshinayana period
ON THIS DAY:  In 532 the Nika revolt against Emperor Justinian I started and took place over the course of a week in Constantinople.  In 1888 the National Geographic Society is founded in Washington DC.  In 1898 Émile Zola's J'accuse…! exposed the Dreyfus affair.  In 1910 the first public radio broadcast takes place; a live performance of the operas Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci are sent out over the airwaves from the Metropolitan Opera House in New York.  In 1942 Henry Ford patented a plastic automobile, which is 30% lighter than a regular car.  In 1949 new findings published on asbestosis and the dangers of asbestos in insulation dealt a heavy blow to one of Quebec's major mining industries.  In 1968 Johnny Cash performed live at Folsom State Prison.  In 1993 Space Shuttle Endeavour headed for space for the third time as STS-54 launched from the Kennedy Space Center.  In 2002 the off-Broadway musical "The Fantasticks" ended a run of nearly 42 years and 17,162 performances.


This week has felt like it was abnormally long, and yet the idea that the month is now half over is almost mind boggling.  Reminds me of the old saying that even though the hours and days seem long sometimes, the months and years are far too short.  Kids seem to grow up so quickly, neh?  Today I saw a cute  picture of my daughter looking very mischievous and it took me back some thirty years in a blink of an eye….




The picture books are put away,

There are no children's games to play,

No goodnight kiss, no prayers to hear,

That all belongs to yesteryear.


My hands once busy, now lie still,

The days are long and hard to fill,

I wish I might go back and do,

The little things you asked me to.
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Friday, January 13, 2017

2017's 12th day

Today is the 5th day of the 2nd week, the 12th day of the 1st month, the 12th day of 2016, and: 
  • Curried Chicken Day
  • Feast of Fabulous Wild Men Day
  • Full moon 6:34 AM EST -- the Full Wolf Moon, when wolves howled in hunger outside the villages -- AKA the Old Moon.
  • Healthy Weight, Healthy Look Day
  • I Am A Mentor
  • International Kiss a Ginger Day
  • National Hot Tea Day
  • National Marzipan Day
  • National Pharmacist Day
  • Stick To Your New Year's Resolution Day
  • Work Harder Day
ON THIS DAY:  In 1528 Gustav I of Sweden was crowned king.  In 1773 the first public museum in America was established, in Charleston, SC.  In 1866 the Royal Aeronautical Society was formed in London.  In 1908 a long-distance radio message was sent from the Eiffel Tower for the first time.  In 1926 "Sam 'n' Henry" [later renamed "Amos 'n' Andy" in 1928] aired on Chicago radio.  In 1969 the New York Jets of the American Football League defeat the BALTIMORE Colts of the National Football League to win Super Bowl III in what is considered to be one of the greatest upsets in sports history.  In 1971 the sitcom "All in the Family" premiered on CBS.  In 1986 Congressman Bill Nelson lifted off from Kennedy Space Center aboard Columbia on mission STS-61-C as a Mission Specialist.  In 1998 19 European nations agree to forbid human cloning.  In 2001 Downtown Disney opened to the public as part of the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California.  In 2004 the world's largest ocean liner, RMS Queen Mary 2, made its maiden voyage.  In 2005 Deep Impact launched from Cape Canaveral on a Delta II rocket.

Today I was continuing to think about reasons to write or things to write about while I was sitting in the doctor’s office waiting for a blood pressure check.  See, when I went back in mid-December right after vacation, all my numbers were totally out of whack and the doc lectured me.  The blood pressure was of particular concern and I rather shamefacedly admitted to skipping medication to make it last until the visit and getting refills [in addition to all the comfort food I was eating around and after the elections].  Well the numbers today looked better, but that top number [the systolic] still places me in the  bottom rung of the stage 1 hypertension group despite the medication that has been working for years  -- cue lots of lectures about losing more weight, exercising more, and stressing out over things less.    At what point does worrying about being healthy actually make you sick? 

When Frank had his stroke in Williamsburg, the doc told him that he would have to give up smoking and drinking coffee if you wanted to live.  Frank just stared at him.  The doc finally turned to me and started to ask me if Frank had heard him and I told him “oh he heard you, he’s just deciding whether or not it is worth living if he has to give up both!”  Frank agreed with me rather emphatically – the doc thought for a moment and told him that if he stopped smoking he probably could get by with caffeine, and Frank agreed.  He stuck with it too, never smoked another cigarette or pipe again – but even though his activity stayed the same, his eating habits changed and he put on a lot of weight [as often happens when someone stops smoking it seems].  He refused to make any other changes to his [our] lifestyle or agree to further surgery and the doctors finally told him that they couldn’t do anymore for him if he wasn’t going to listen to them .   Did he shorten his life by doing what he wanted?  Probably.  Did he enjoy what time he had left more than he would’ve if he had done everything the doctors wanted him to do?  I really think so – Frank loathed hospitals, disliked doctors and was impatient with all the do’s and don’ts. 

Fact is that heredity and genetics seem to have just as much to do with high blood pressure as lifestyle.  That said, I AM back to counting carbs, watching calories, and managing sugar – the stress I cannot seem to do anything about at the moment as the fear I encountered the month before the election just seems to be fed by all the subsequent events.  But I think about Frank’s choice at times – it is an option.

Oh and the creative prompt for today that I just ignored? 

12.  Greeting: Write a story or poem that starts with the word “hello”.”

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Thursday, January 12, 2017

first hump day in 2017

Today is the 4th day of the 2nd week, the 11th day of the 1st month, the 11th day of 2016, and: 
  • Cigarettes are Hazardous to Your Health Day
  • Learn Your Name in Morse Code Day
  • National Hot Toddy Day
  • National Human Trafficking Awareness Day
  • National Milk Day
  • National Step in a Puddle and Splash Your Friend Day
  • Secret Pal Day
ON THIS DAY:  In 532 a quarrel between supporters of different chariot teams [the Blues and the Greens]in the Hippodrome escalates into violence in Constantinople which come to be called the Nika riots.  In 1569 the first recorded lottery was held in England.  In 1759 the first American life insurance company was incorporated in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  In 1787 William Herschel discovered Titania and Oberon, two moons of Uranus.  In 1922 the world's first insulin [then called isletin] treatment was given at the Toronto General Hospital on Leonard Thompson, age 14.  In 1927 Louis B Mayer, head of film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), announced the creation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, at a banquet in Los Angeles, California.  In 1935 Amelia Earhart became the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to California.  In 1996  STS-72 launches from the Kennedy Space Center marking the start of the 74th Space Shuttle mission and the 10th flight of Endeavour. 

Sooner or later, every person who has determined that they need to write gets constipated.  Well, actually everyone has a problem with constipation at one time or another, but I am not potty-talking at the moment [you’re welcome] today at least.  I might save that for a later post!  No I am talking about not being able to put the words that are floating around in your head onto paper in any form that might be found interesting by yourself much less another reader – and it is apparently a wide-spread issue because a quick Google search on “writing prompts” turns up around 11,800,000 results.   Now I don’t know if all of them are really links about ideas to journal about because like everyone else, I only really look at the first two pages of the search.  Out of all of them, I picked 365 Creative Writing Prompts and scrolled down to #11

11. Dragon: Envision a dragon. Do you battle him? Or is the dragon friendly? Use descriptive language.

Shades of UnderTale, neh?  My son got that game and was so amused by the novelty that he got it for me, although I haven’t had much time to fool with it.   


According to Wikipedia,  “a Dragon Lady is usually strong, deceitful, domineering, or mysterious. The term's origin and usage is inspired by the characters played by actress Anna May Wong, the term comes from the female villain in the comic strip Terry and the Pirates.”    Calling a woman a dragon lady in Western society implies that somehow she is offensive [mainly to men], a sexual predator, and a bit evil/maniacal, plotting for world domination or something.  In the East, a dragon lady is more of a compliment as she is seen as highly independent, very honest, queenly, and alluring. 

Yup, I need a third option so I can BE the dragon!
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Wednesday, January 11, 2017

being able to rely on stuff

Today is the 3rd day of the 2nd week, the 10th day of the 1st month, the 10th day of 2017, and: 
  • Houseplant Appreciation Day
  • League of Nations Day -- established as the Treaty of Versailles went into effect in 1920
  • National Bittersweet Chocolate Day
  • National Cut Your Energy Costs Day
  • National Poetry at Work Day
  • Peculiar People Day
  • Save the Eagles Day
  • Stephen Foster Day
ON THIS DAY:  In 49 BC Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon, signaling the start of civil war and starting a meme about irrevocable choices.  In 1776 Thomas Paine published his pamphlet Common Sense.  In 1863 the Metropolitan Railway, the world's oldest underground railway, opened between London Paddington station and Farringdon station, marking the beginning of the London Underground.  In 1870 John D Rockefeller incorporated Standard Oil.  In 1901 the first great Texas oil gusher was discovered at Spindletop in Beaumont, Texas.  In 1927 Fritz Lang's futuristic film Metropolis was released in Germany.  In 1946 the first General Assembly of the United Nations opened in London; 51 nations were represented.  Also in 1946 the US Army Signal Corps successfully bounced radio waves off the Moon and received the reflected signals. In 1962 NASA announced plans to build the C-5 rocket launch vehicle, which became known as the Saturn V Moon rocket, which launched every Apollo Moon mission.  In 1964 the Beatles' first album in the United States, "Introducing the Beatles," was released. 

Been a while since I mentioned this, but I guess it is time to reiterate.  I use two sources for the "today is" segment:  First I check Brownie Locks and the 3 Bears and then I take a look at CheckiDay.    For “on this day” I use multiple sources and occasionally I have to remind you all that it is by no means an inclusive list, but a gathering of happenings that does not usually involve war or politics or disasters because I am only posting things that pique my interest

Today it came to light that Google had very quietly added information to their FAQ on Hangouts announcing that many features would no longer be available as of April of this year.   They are planning to move it over to businesses for meetings and would prefer that social users transfer to Allo if they want to chat in text and Duo if they want to use voice and/or video chat even though that entails using two separate apps rather than having the convenience of all your social communications in one place.  This is not unprecedented for Google – a quick search shows that they have retired somewhere around 40 programs/apps/platformst.   Although they always present it as progress, it seems that their decisions often do not take into account the needs or desires of their users, no matter how popular or widely used the product has been.   

While I was not at all sorry to see Buzz or Wave go, losing the Google Reader was a major inconvenience – getting all the blogs and feeds set up on Newsblur took a great deal of time.  Losing the iGoogle was an annoyance -- igHome is just more limited in scope.  And last, many of us were quite annoyed when Talk stopped working and we were forced onto the more clunky Hangouts.  As a result?  Although at the moment I use Gmail, Blogger, Chrome and Hangouts – I no longer permit myself to fully rely on any of them.  I have to have a backup plan in place at all times given Google might just pull the plug without a lot of warning for no better reason than the techs at Google have decided that they need to move on.

So, with a track record like this, why would any business trust a program or platform from Google to provide important infrastructure?

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Tuesday, January 10, 2017

09 JAN 2017

Today is the 2nd day of the 2nd week, the 9th day of the 1st month, the 9th day of 2016 [with 349 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • Balloon Ascension Day
  • International Choreographers Day
  • Law Enforcement Appreciation Day
  • National Apricot Day
  • National Cassoulet Day
  • National Clean Off Your Desk Day
  • National Static Electricity Day
  • National Word Nerd Day
  • Play God Day – celebrate by making someone’s way easier or brighter
ON THIS DAY:  In 475 Byzantine Emperor Zeno was forced to flee his capital at Constantinople, and his general, Basiliscus gained control of the empire.  In 1793  Jean-Pierre Blanchard became the first person to fly in a balloon in the United States.  In 1799 British Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger introduced an income tax of two shillings to the pound to raise funds for Great Britain's war effort in the Napoleonic Wars.  In 1816 Sir Humphry Davy tested his safety lamp for miners at Hebburn Colliery.  In 1839 the French Academy of Sciences announced the Daguerreotype photography process.  In 1894 New England Telephone and Telegraph installed the first battery-operated telephone switchboard in Lexington, Massachusetts.  In 1909 Ernest Shackleton, leading the Nimrod Expedition to the South Pole, planted the British flag 97 nautical miles (180 km; 112 mi) from the South Pole, the farthest anyone had ever reached at that time.  In 1923 Juan de la Cierva made the first autogyro flight. In 1968 thee Surveyor 7 space probe made a soft landing on the moon; it was the last of America's unmanned explorations of the lunar surface. In 1990 NASA Shuttle flight STS-32 retrieves the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF), left in orbit for nearly 6 years; contained some materials exposure experiments from the University of Toronto's Institute for Aerospace Studies.  In 2001 Apple introduced its iTunes music management software at the MacWorld Expo in San Francisco.  In 2006 "The Phantom of the Opera" became the longest-running show in Broadway history, surpassing "Cats," which ran for 7,485 performances.  In 2007 Steven P. Jobs introduced Apple’s long-awaited entry into the cellphone world, the iPhone.  In 2017 NASA Voyager is 19 hrs 07 mins 03 secs of light-travel time from Earth

I tweet.  I make some comments, I share some pictures, I share links of things that I find interesting.  I follow 515 people that I have found to be of interest.  I have some followers – bouncing around 190 these days – and lots of folks will start following me when I share a link they find interesting and then promptly unfollow me when I either don’t follow them back or I don’t keep posting on the same subject.  Now and then I tweet in response to a celebrity but have never had a response.

I am on Pinterest.  Sharing pictures and humor that just resonate with me for one reason or another.  I follow 114 people and 275 people follow me. 

I am on Facebook.  My tweets and my pins go to my feed, so the 466 people who friended me there see that activity, as well as the usual games and conversations.

I am also In G+ [following 90] and ello [following 41 and followed by 29] – but I interact intermittently on those communities. 

Linked-In is my professional profile   Although I have 332 connections and belong to several groups, I seldom post here and it is not connected to any other social media.

Why am I going through all of these social media accounts?  Because in all the time I have been active [about nine years] I have never been moved to whine online or to attack someone as second-rate, stupid or dishonest just because they said they didn’t like me or disagreed with me.

Just saying…..

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Monday, January 9, 2017

Chirstmas is over

Today is the 6th day of the 1st week, the 6th day of the 1st month, the 6th day of 2017, and: 
  • Apple Tree Day
  • Bean Day
  • Cuddle Up Day
  • Epiphany or Twelfth Night
  • National Shortbread Day
  • National Smith Day
  • National Take a Poet to Lunch Day
  • National Take Down the Christmas Tree Day
  • Three Kings Day
  • World Day for War Orphans
ON THIS DAY:  In 1017 Cnut the Great was crowned King of England.  I usually ignore ascensions to thrones, but  apparently this is a popular day to become royal....  In 1066 Harold Godwinson (or Harold II) was crowned King of England.  In 1205 Philip of Swabia was crowned King of the Romans.  In1322 Stephen Uroš III was crowned King of Serbia.  In 1355 Charles I of Bohemia was crowned with the Iron Crown of Lombardy as King of Italy in Milan.  In 1412, according to tradition, Joan of Arc was born in Domremy, France.  In 1449 Constantine XI was crowned Byzantine Emperor at Mystras.  In1690 Joseph, son of Emperor Leopold I, was crowned King of the Romans.  IN 1838 Alfred Vail demonstrated a telegraph system using dots and dashes (this is the forerunner of Morse code).  In 1893 the Washington National Cathedral is chartered by Congress and signed by Benjamin Harrison.  In 1929 Mother Teresa arrived in Calcutta, India, to begin her work among India's poorest and sick people.  In 1931 Thomas Edison signed his last patent application.  In 2000 Celia, the last Pyrenean ibex, was found dead after a tree had landed on her. 

So today marks the official end of the Christmas holiday as the Magi enter Bethlehem.  It always seemed to me that a little bit of magic went out of the air at this time and the New Year doesn’t look quite so bright and shiny.  Folks seem a little grumpier and strangers no longer smile at you as readily.   Presents are put away or returned by now, school and businesses are back to everyday operations, the weather is ….  Well it is winter after all.   And it is time to pay the piper in two ways – the bills from are rolling in and you have to get on the scale after all the holiday foods and drinks.  It is hard not to see it all as drudgery, difficult not to envy those whose lifestyles are so much more comfortable [no I will not insert a rant about income inequity here, but you all are more than welcome to infer it], and very taxing to assume goodwill especially in social media.  In short?  it is back to what we laughingly call “real life”


Time for me to immerse myself back in my 2nd Life, revisiting MiddleEarth, taking Cities in Flight or making sure the spice is flowing, finding Narnia or a Regency buck, getting on the train from platform 9 ¾, dancing and landscaping in Second Life – in short, boldly going where no one has gone before.  If you want to find me?  just take the first star on the right or open that blue phone box – but don’t forget your towel!

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Friday, January 6, 2017

on the last day of Christmas....

Today is the 5th day of the 1st week, the 5th day of the 1st month, the 5th day of 2017, and: 
  • Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival (Harbin, China)
  • National Bird Day
  • National Whipped Cream Day
  • Sausage Day
  • The Twelfth day of Christmas and the Twelfth Night of Christmas. (Western Christianity)
ON THIS DAY:  In 1066 Edward the Confessor died childless, sparking a succession crisis that will eventually lead to the Norman conquest of England.  In 1805 Bookseller Thomas Cary published the first edition of the Quebec Mercury newspaper.  In 1914 the Ford Motor Company announced an eight-hour workday and that it would pay a "living wage" of at least US $5 for a day's labor.  In 1919 the German Workers' Party, which would become the Nazi Party, was founded.  In 1933 construction of the Golden Gate Bridge began in San Francisco Bay.  In 1944 the Daily Mail becomes the first transoceanic newspaper.  In 1970 the soap opera "All My Children" premiered on ABC-TV.  In 1972 Nixon ordered development of the US space shuttle.  In 1973 Bruce Springsteen's debut album, "Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ," was released.  In 2005 Eris, the most massive and second-largest known dwarf planet in the Solar System, was discovered by the team of Michael E. Brown, Chad Trujillo, and David L. Rabinowitz using images originally taken on 10.21.2003, at the Palomar Observatory. In 2014 a launch of the communication satellite GSAT-14 aboard the GSLV MK.II D5 marked the first successful flight of an Indian cryogenic engine. 

Ignoring the political posts online continues to be pretty difficult.  DJT just LOVES to tweet-storm and between his comments and the responses [whether pro or con], any facts seem pretty obscured in the welter of heated rhetoric.   Two things seem to be totally lost:  [1] politeness – manners if you will and [2] a sense of responsibility for those amongst us who need help.   I have no idea what caused the raucous nature of both public and private discourse, or even a feel for when an opinion started trumping facts, but I have an idea of why the needy are being ignored – I blame John Calvin

John Calvin stated:  "God preordained...a part of the human race, without any merit of their own, to eternal salvation, and another part, in just punishment of their sin, to eternal damnation."   This came to be interpreted as the gospel of Prosperity or [Prosperity Doctrine] – meaning that poverty, disease, and lack of well-being is the individuals’ fault; God rewards the faithful and the good with wealth.   As a result?  Those that HAVE feel no moral accountability whatsoever to provide for those who HAVE NOT, and see every single attempt to spend money “for the greater good” as an unwarranted intrusion into their pockets.  That’s why no argument seems to reach these people, they truly believe they are the chosen and nothing else matters.  If you are not chosen?  If you cannot retire or pay medical bills or get schooling?  That’s your problem, get on your knees and take it up with the Lord – and stop coming the chosen ones for handouts.   

Sound familiar?  But understanding where they are coming from is not helping me understand how to bridge the gap that yawns between what they believe and I do.   It isn’t helping me to see them as anything but self-righteous and smug; it isn’t helping them to see me as anything but a bleeding heart liberal.  We don’t agree on priorities, we just aren’t talking in the same language, and there appears to be no common ground.  I don’t know how to even open a dialog where both sides have an expectation that the other will listen and then compromise.

If I figure it out, I’ll let you all know….

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Thursday, January 5, 2017

11 Pipers Piping....

Today is the 4th day of the 1st week, the 4th day of the 1st month, the 4th day of 2017, and: 
  • Dimpled Chad Day [thank you Florida]
  • Earth at Perihelion -- Distance from the Sun's center to Earth's center was 147,100,998 km (91,404,322 mi) at 9:17 am EST today
  • Free Flower Basket Day [no one brought me flowers tho]
  • Independence Day -- Myanmar from the United Kingdom in 1948.
  • National Spaghetti Day
  • National Trivia Day
  • Ogoni Day (Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People)
  • Pop Music Chart Day
  • Tom Thumb Day
  • World Braille Day
  • World Hypnotism Day
  • The eleventh of the Twelve Days of Christmas. (Western Christianity)
ON THIS DAY:  In 46 BC Julius Caesar defeated Titus Labienus in the Battle of Ruspina.  In 1847 Samuel Colt sold his first revolver pistol to the United States government.  In 1854 the McDonald Islands were discovered by Captain William McDonald aboard the Samarang.  In 1863 the New Apostolic Church was established in Hamburg, Germany.  In 1865 the New York Stock Exchange opened its first permanent headquarters near Wall Street in New York City.  In 1903 Topsy, an elephant, was electrocuted by the owners of Luna Park, Coney Island; the Edison film company shoots the film Electrocuting an Elephant of Topsy's death [SRSLY?].  In 1912 the Scout Association was incorporated throughout the British Empire by royal charter.  In 1958 Sputnik 1 fell to Earth from orbit.  In 1959 Luna 1 became the first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the Moon.  In 2004 Spirit, a NASA Mars rover, landed successfully on Mars at 04:35 UTC.  In 2010 Dubai opened the world's tallest skyscraper, the 2,717-foot gleaming glass-and-metal tower Burj Khalifa. 

Sometimes we talk politics in the office – yeah, I know, you aren’t supposed to.  We also talk religion and race sometimes too, but I will admit that we do so rather carefully.   Don’t want HR getting complaints!

This is an office of six individuals – of varying races, creeds and ages spanning over four decades --   all lacking in love or even respect for the incoming President.  One of us was talking about the inauguration, and how they planned to stake out a spot on the parade route just so they could make a fuss, showing DJT just how much they loathed him.  Made me stop and think about the comment I have read and heard often since the election in different variations:  “we put up with Obama for eight years so you can put up with Trump for at least four”  and realize there was [or is rather] a huge segment of our country who felt just this strongly about him as my coworker feels about DJT.   Made me look at the purpose of the Woman’s March and other protests – they don’t seem to be protesting to change something [like we were doing back in the day when we wanted out of Nam or were for civil rights], they just want to make their opposition to what is happening known, and to scream defiance at change.   IMSNHO, FWIIW:  And I have to conclude that nothing is going to get done in opposing the agenda of the 1%, the agenda of old rich white male Uncle Moneybags, until we start talking in a normal tone of voice and actually listening to the concerns of local voters no matter who they voted for in this past election.  The UK faces the same challenge in dealing with Brexit – and how both countries navigate this will determine the shape of things to come for many years.  For now?  we are fighting battles over the welfare of the worker VS the welfare of the privileged that we thought had been decided at the turn of LAST century.  And we are left wondering if we have learned nothing about the value of an individual life and how we are all better together.

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Wednesday, January 4, 2017


Today is the 3rd day of the 1st week, the 3rd day of the 1st month, the 3rd day of 2017, and: 
  • Drinking Straw Day
  • Festival of Sleep Day
  • Humiliation Day
  • J.R.R. Tolkien Day
  • National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day
  • National Drinking Straw Day
  • National Write to Congress Day
  • Memento Mori "Remember You Die" Day
  • Women Rock! Day
  • The tenth of the Twelve Days of Christmas (Western Christianity)
ON THIS DAY:  In 1521 Pope Leo X excommunicated Martin Luther in the papal bull Decet Romanum Pontificem.  In 1870 construction of the Brooklyn Bridge began.  In 1888 the James Lick telescope at the Lick Observatory, measuring 91 cm in diameter, was used for the first time -- it was the largest refracting telescope in the world at the time.  In 1892 JRR Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa.  In 1910 "Happiness and contentment are found from one end of Canada to the other" - headline in London Times (page 5).  In 1913 an Atlantic coast storm set the lowest confirmed barometric pressure reading for a non-tropical system in the continental US.  In 1938 the March of Dimes was established by President Franklin D Roosevelt.  In 1957 the Hamilton Watch Company introduced the first electric watch.  In 1962 Pope John XXIII excommunicated Fidel Castro.  In 1977 Apple Computer was incorporated.  In 1999 the Mars Polar Lander was launched.  In 2000 the last new daily "Peanuts" comic strip by Charles Schulz ran in 2,600 newspapers.  In 2004 NASA's Mars rover, Spirit, touched down on the red planet.  In 2009 the first block of the blockchain of the decentralized payment system Bitcoin, called the Genesis block, was established by the creator of the system, Satoshi Nakamoto. 

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions.  I don’t because I learned the ephemeral nature of such oaths at a pretty early age.  Instead, I started doing an introspective look back on the year, summarizing events, looking inward to see what changes in me the changes in life had wrought.   Last year at this time, when I was struggling with this blog, lacking a focus and a direction, having no reason to really write each day [well almost each day], and decided to try a new format [for lack of a better word].  You can go back and read about the decision here [side note – the missing photo problem strikes again].  It has worked out well, I think, on the whole.

What changes did 2016 bring?  I am still pondering that one.  The two biggest things for me that are easy to identify: 
  1. This is the first full year that I was without a romantic interest in either RL or my 2nd Life [AKA an LDR – long distance relationship] and I am ambivalent about the differences between being alone and being lonely [is it a Freudian slip that I just wrote “looney”?]
  2. This is the first time that a political campaign made me afraid.  In the past I have been angry, I have been annoyed, I have been disgusted, but never this deep-down worried.  And no, it isn’t because HRC lost and DJT won – it is the implications of the deep divides between what I thought I knew about my country and the vitriol that was splashed about so freely.

As for 2017? 



Wish me luck!
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Tuesday, January 3, 2017

the days of Christmas in the New Year

Today is the 2nd day of the 1st week, the 2nd day of the 1st month, the 2nd day of 2017, and: 
  • 55-MPH Speed Limit Day --  in 1974 Nixon signed the bill lowering the maximum US speed limit to 55 MPH in order to conserve gasoline during an OPEC embargo.
  • Blue Monday
  • Divorce Monday -- (First Monday of year which is when most feel that divorces are filed.)
  • Happy Mew Year for Cats Day
  • National Buffet Day
  • National Cream Puff Day
  • National Motivation and Inspiration Day
  • National Personal Trainer Awareness Day
  • National Run it Up the Flagpole and See if Anybody Salutes It Day
  • National Science Fiction Day
  • National Weigh-In Day
  • Pet Travel and Safety Day
  • Rose Bowl Game [I thought it was the 1st but not this year] – the 103rd
  • Tournament of Roses Parade Day -- The Rose Parade’s never-on-Sunday rule means this year’s parade, the 128th, is on Monday
  • Swiss Cheese Day
  • "Thank God It's Monday" Day [only said by those who have this day off]
  • The ninth of the Twelve Days of Christmas (Western Christianity)
ON THIS DAY:  In 366 the Alemanni crossed the frozen Rhine in large numbers, invading the Roman Empire.  In 533 Mercurius becomes Pope John II, starting the tradition of adopting a new name upon elevation to the papacy.  In 1860 the discovery of the planet Vulcan was announced at a meeting of the French Academy of Sciences in Paris, France.  In 1872 Canada and the US first share telegraphed weather reports.  In 1929 the US and Canada reached agreement on joint action to preserve Niagara Falls.  In 1959 Luna 1, the first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the Moon and to orbit the Sun, was launched by the Soviet Union.  In 2004 Stardust successfully flies past Comet Wild 2, collecting samples that are returned to Earth. 

Here it is a gray, dark and dismal day outside, but I am ensconced in my warm, bright apartment enjoying a rare day off after the 1st [which won’t happen again until 2020] and contemplating the removal of the holiday decorations and whether or not I shall embark on such an undertaking with the full knowledge that it always depresses me.  Since it is technically within the 12 days of Christmas, I can make an argument for leaving it up – indeed that is the rationale for waiting until the weekend after New Year’s.  On the other hand, taking it all down and putting it away is something best done quickly, like tearing off a bandage.   Timing of when to un-decorate varies:  there are many who spend New Year’s Day taking down the tree [especially if it is a live tree] and lights; there are many who leave the outside lights up through January [and sometimes beyond].    When I used to work retail, those of us in the store on New Year’s Eve had to get everything down and put away – of course this was back in the day when everything was actually closed on New Year’s Day.  

When do you clear away your holiday decorations?

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Monday, January 2, 2017

And it is a new year!

Today is the 1st day of the 1st week, the 1st day of the 1st month, the 1st day of 2017 [please note there are now 357 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • Apple Gifting Day
  • Commitment Day
  • Copyright Law Day
  • Ellis Island Day
  • Euro Day
  • First Foot Day
  • Global Family Day
  • Independence Day -- Brunei from the UK in 1984, Cameroon from France in 1960, Haiti from France in 1825, and Sudan from Egypt in 1956
  • Mummers parade – Philadelphia, PA
  • National Bloody Mary Day
  • National First Foot Day
  • National Hangover Day
  • New Year's Day
  • New Year's Dishonor List Day
  • Polar Bear Plunge or Swim Day (Cony Island NY & Vancouver, BC)
  • Public Domain Day
  • Saint Basil's Day
  • Tournament of Roses parade – Pasadena, CA
  • World Day of Peace
  • Z Day
  • The Second day of Hogmanay (Scotland)
  • The last day of Kwanzaa (African-Americans)
  • The eighth of the Twelve Days of Christmas (Western Christianity)
ON THIS DAY:  In 153 BC Roman consuls began their year in office.  In 45 BC the Julian calendar took effect as the civil calendar of the Roman Empire, establishing January 1 as the new date of the new  year.  In 1502 the present-day location of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was first explored by the Portuguese.  In 1600 Scotland began its numbered year on January 1 instead of March 25.  In 1700 Russia began using the Anno Domini era instead of the Anno Mundi era of the Byzantine Empire.  In 1739 Bouvet Island was discovered by French explorer Jean-Baptiste Charles Bouvet de Lozier.  In 1752, under new Gregorian calendar, the year 1752 began today, rather than on March 25, the case in England since the 1300s; the day following Sept 02 to be known as Sept 14; 1751 therefore had only 281 days; and 1752 will have 354 days.  In 1772 the first traveler's cheques, which can be used in 90 European cities, went on sale in London, England.  In 1773 the hymn that became known as "Amazing Grace", then titled "1 Chronicles 17:16–17" was first used to accompany a sermon led by John Newton in the town of Olney, England [no confirmation on whether or not there were bagpipes].  In 1788 the first edition of The Times of London, previously The Daily Universal Register, was published.  In1801 Ceres, the largest and first known object in the Asteroid belt, was discovered by Giuseppe Piazzi.  In 1847 the world's first "Mercy" Hospital was founded in Pittsburgh by the Sisters of Mercy; the name will go on to grace over 30 major hospitals throughout the world [both of my children and grandchildren were born in Mercy Hospital in Baltimore].  In 1860 the first Polish stamp was issued.  In 1885 25 nations adopted Sandford Fleming's proposal for standard time (and also, time zones).  In 1892 Ellis Island opened to begin processing immigrants into the United States.  In 1902 the first American college football bowl game, the Rose Bowl between Michigan and Stanford, was held in Pasadena, California.  In1906 British India officially adopted Indian Standard Time.  In 1908 for the first time a ball was dropped in New York City's Times Square to signify the start of the New Year at midnight.  In 1995 the Draupner wave in the North Sea in Norway was detected, confirming the existence of freak waves.  In 2014 Asteroid 2014 AA hit the Earth over the Atlantic Ocean.  And in 2017 NASA Voyager is 19 hrs 06 mins 52 secs of light-travel time from Earth.  

As you can see by the various changes to the way that we record the passing of time, not everyone in the world agreed on what the date is, which certainly has impacted our record of when events actually took place!  I find this rather interesting since now humans are coordinating what is known as solar time to atomic time down to the second, having arbitrarily divided the world into time zones.   And we celebrate the New Year in many different ways.  In the US, it is a federal holiday marking the end of the holiday season, and usually a time for reflection and family.  It is a Maryland tradition to bring the New Year in with the same meal for good luck – but different segments of the state eat slightly different things like greens [Pot Likker soup], black-eyed peas [in a dish called Hoppin' John], and cornbread.

Whatever you eat, may this be a good year for you and your’s! 

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016 heads out

"The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,

Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit

Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,

Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it." 

~  Omar Khayyám 


Well this is it – the last day of 2016.  The 7th day of the 52nd week, the 31st day of the 12th month, the 366th day of 2016 [+ one second], and:

  • Global Champagne Day
  • Leap Second Time Adjustment Day
  • Look On The Bright Side Day
  • Make Up Your Mind Day
  • New Year's Eve – AKA First Night, Bisperás ng Bagong Taón, Ōmisoka, and the first day of Hogmanay
  • New Year's Eve Banished Words List
  • New Year's Dishonor List
  • One Voice Day
  • Universal Hour of Peace Day
  • Unlucky Day
  • World Peace Meditation Day
  • The eighth Night of Chanukah
  • The seventh of the Twelve Days of Christmas (Western Christianity)
  • The sixth day of Kwanzaa (United States)
ON THIS DAY:  In 406 Vandals, Alans and Suebians crossed the Rhine, beginning an invasion of Gaul.  In 1600 the British East India Company was chartered.  In 1638 the Lunar eclipse in Huron country [Ontario, Canada] panics natives, who place blame on Jesuits.   In 1759 Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum and starts brewing Guinness.  In1790 Efimeris, the oldest Greek newspaper of which issues have survived till today, was published for the first time.  In 1796 – the incorporation of Baltimore as a city.  In 1853 a dinner party was held inside a life-size model of an iguanodon created by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins and Sir Richard Owen in south London, England.  In 1857 Queen Victoria chose Ottawa, then a small logging town, as the capital of Canada.  In 1878 Karl Benz, working in Mannheim, Germany, filed for a patent on his first reliable two-stroke gas engine, and he was granted the patent in 1879.  In 1879 Thomas Edison demonstrated incandescent lighting to the public for the first time, in Menlo Park, New Jersey.  In 1907 the first New Year's Eve celebration was held in Times Square (then known as Longacre Square) in Manhattan.   In 1929 Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians played Auld Lang Syne to usher in the New Year for the very first time, in their first annual New Year's Eve Party at the Hotel Roosevelt Grill.  In 2004 Taipei 101, the tallest skyscraper at that time in the world, standing at a height of 509 metres (1,670 ft), officially opened.  In 2009 both a blue moon and a lunar eclipse occurred.  In 2011 NASA succeeded in putting the first of two Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory satellites in orbit around the Moon. 

Like Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve can be a bit lonely.    I wish I had words of wisdom to impart that would uplift and inspire, or maybe a witty story or two sending us into the New Year with laughter on our lips.   Instead I am frittering away the day, playing with fireworks [if you say Happy New Year on Facebook it responds with a display], reading other people who have summarized the year [funny or not], cleaning up my stash in Diablo III [season 8 ended last night] and pondering whether or not to party again this year in Second Life.    But tonight like every year,  I will stay up to bid the old year farewell and welcome the new one -- it is said that “An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves” [Bill Vaughn].....

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Saturday, December 31, 2016

as the year runs down....

Today is the 6th day of the 52nd week, the 30th day of the 12th month, the 365th day of 2016, and: 
  • Bacon Day
  • Falling Needles Family Fest Day
  • Festival of Enormous Changes at the Last Minute
  • National Bicarbonate of Soda Day
  • No Interruptions Day
  • The seventh Night of Chanukah after nightfall
  • The sixth of the Twelve Days of Christmas. (Western Christianity)
  • The fifth day of Kwanzaa. (United States)
ON THIS DAY:  In 1066 a Muslim mob stormed the royal palace in Granada, crucified Jewish vizier Joseph ibn Naghrela and massacred most of the Jewish population of the city.  In 1853 the US bought about 45,000 square miles of land from Mexico in a deal known as the Gadsden Purchase to facilitate railroad building in the Southwest.  In 1879 Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Pirates of Penzance" was first performed, at Paignton, Devon, England.  In 1924 Edwin Hubble announced the existence of other galactic systems.  In 1927 the first subway in the Orient was dedicated in Tokyo, Japan.  In 1948 "Kiss Me Kate" opened at the New Century Theatre in New York City -- Cole Porter composed the music for the classic play that ran for 1,077 performances.  In 1976 The Smothers Brothers, Tom and Dick, played their last show at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas and retired as a team from show business -- both continued as solo artists and they reunited several years later. 

Today is the final business day of the year.  Traffic coming in was unusually light this morning and I imagine that a lot of people took off.  Got me to thinking about the different ways companies handle PTO [paid time off] these days. 

Of course, we have the unions to thank for this benefit [as well as the 40 hour work week that seems to be imperiled nowadays], which means not all service organizations even grant it – far too many folks find that if they are not physically “on the clock” then they are not  paid.  Maybe they are part-time or contracted, but for them?  Having things close down early because of holidays or weather or company meetings means that their paycheck is short and that is a rather painful and unpleasant surprise, neh?  Back when the executive suite saw employees as assets to be cared for rather than costs to be contained, companies used to give three kinds of leave:  personal [usually 3 days], sick time [maybe 5 days], and vacation [2 weeks + whatever rank and seniority earn you].  Back in the 90’s companies started lumping it all into a single bucket to make the costs more obvious, and calling it “paid time off”.  For those of us who are lucky enough to have PTO, most companies accrue it and it is only available [up to a limit] as you earn it.  For others, who do  use-or-lose since they don’t want to carry it as a liability on their books, it is all available as soon as the new year kicks in and it is up to each employee to manage their time so they don’t leave hours on the table, effectively giving themselves a pay cut.   And then there are the companies that close at designated times each year – for them that week or so they are closed count as their employee’s PTO.  For example, let’s say you are off between Christmas and New Year’s – sounds great, doesn’t it?  But if you only have three weeks of PTO and those five days are deducted from it automatically, that doesn’t leave you much wiggle room.

Add the ability to have leisure without worrying about income as one of the privileges the 1% reserve for themselves.  After all, why should they pay people when they are not producing for them?

I think I I like the Federation's idea of everyone being given a robust, sustainable income.
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Friday, December 30, 2016

the countdown has started

Today is the 5th day of the 52nd week, the 29th day of the 12th month, the 364th day of 2016, and: 
  • Independence Day -- Mongolia from China  in 1911
  • National Pepper Pot Day
  • Still Need to Do Day
  • Tick Tock Day
  • YMCA Day (the organization not the song) – and do you know what the letters stand for?
  • The last new moon of 2016 – in tropical Capricorn
  • The sixth night of Hanukkah
  • The fifth day of Christmas (Western Christianity)
  • The fourth day of Kwanzaa (United States)
 ON THIS DAY:  In 875 Charles the Bald, King of the Franks, was crowned as Holy Roman Emperor Charles II. In 1798 Upper Canada's Marriage Act recognized marriages not performed by the Anglican Church as legal.  In 1851 the first American YMCA opened in Boston, Massachusetts [the song didn't come out until 1978].  In 1860 the Royal Navy launched the HMS Warrior -- with the combination of screw propeller, iron hull and iron armour all previous warships became obsolescent.   In 1916 A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the first novel by James Joyce, was first published as a book by an American publishing house BW Huebschis after it had been serialized in The Egoist.  In 2003 the last known speaker of Akkala Sami [spoken in Russia] died, rendering the language extinct. 

I went back and looked at my blog post made on 12.29.2015.  The picture is missing – that is an issue with this blogging platform because we cannot upload photos to it, we have to link to one that is already online and it is an interesting study on how many links get broken over time to see the missing photo.  According to CeoExpress, they are going to be making improvements for blogging in the coming year.  Hopefully it will permit us to see some analytics as well as making it easier to edit and embed items.  Right now I am pretty much limited and I don’t like it.  I have considered going elsewhere – Blogger and Penzu are two that I tested – but dagnabit I am a charter member of CeoExpress and would like to keep supporting it!  Hopefully the past posts will not be lost as they convert – I have lost so much information due to the process of conversion!

While 2016 was ravenous when it came to celebrities and cultural icons, the only real loss in the family was my cat Kula.    He had to be put to sleep in early January at age 16+ when he went into kidney failure.  Anyway, it was apparent that one year ago today I viewed the coming new year with hope, and despite the political campaigns, was kinda ignoring the big picture to focus on more immediate personal and family concerns.  I have been trying to generate that same hopeful feel for 2017, but it is difficult.  DJT, Erdogan, Duterte, Netanyahu, and Kim Jong-un all make the world sound and feel like a more dangerous place than ever before, not to mention Brexit and the refuge issues.    DJT, police shootings, hate groups, North Carolina, and rampant income inequity all make my country sound and feel like we are going where I never thought we would go.   I am struggling to refocus back to my own life, taking my health seriously, spending time with family, and learning to live alone [except for my cat that is – Panda, another rescue cat 9 years old, joined me on July 2nd].

There is always hope.  And we always have a choice, neh?  2017 is a tabula rasa -- may the stories we tell be worthy!  

Oh, and to answer the question I asked above:   YMCA stands for “Young Men's Christian Association

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

don't even ask if 2016 can get any worse.....

Today is the 4th day of the 52nd week, the 28th day of the 12th month, the 363rd day of 2016, and: 
  • Call a Friend Day
  • Holy Innocents Day
  • National Card Playing Day
  • National Chocolate Candy Day
  • Pledge of Allegiance Day -- Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance in 1945.  In 1954, at President Eisenhower's urging, the Congress legislated that “under God” be added
  • The fifth night of Chanukah [or Hanukkah or Kislev 28]
  • The fourth of the Twelve Days of Christmas (Western Christianity)
  • The third day of Kwanzaa
ON THIS DAY:  In 418 Pope Boniface I was elected.  In 1065 Westminster Abbey was consecrated.  In 1795 the construction of Yonge Street, formerly recognized as the longest street in the world, began in York, Upper Canada (present-day Toronto).  In 1720 the Lords of Trade propose to deport the Acadians from Nova Scotia; the expulsion does not begin until 35 years later, from 1755-63.  In 1867 the US claimed Midway Atoll, the first territory annexed outside Continental limits.  In 1895 the Lumière brothers performed for their first paying audience at the Grand Cafe in Boulevard des Capucines, marking the debut of the cinema.  Also in 1895 Wilhelm Röntgen published a paper detailing his discovery of a new type of radiation, which later will be known as x-rays.  In 1897 "Cyrano de Bergerac," a play by Edmond Rostand, premiered in Paris.  In 1912 the first municipally owned streetcars take to the streets in San Francisco.  In1918 Constance Markievicz, while detained in Holloway prison, became the first woman to be elected MP to the British House of Commons.  In 1958 the Baltimore Colts won the NFL championship, defeating the New York Giants 23-17 in overtime at Yankee Stadium, in what has been dubbed the greatest football game ever played.  In 2016 NASA Voyager is 19 hrs 06 mins 44 secs of light-travel time and OSIRIS-REx is more than 320 million km (199 million miles) from Earth.

There is a line in the play “Man of La Mancha” when Don Cervantes is telling a story about the time he was held prisoner in Africa while soldiering and watching his comrades die with the question in their eyes of “why?”   He then goes on to say that he didn’t think they were asking why they were dying, but why they had lived.   

As all the accolades, tributes, reminiscing, and comments build up in social media for the death of two beloved figures – Carrie Fisher, best known for her place as princess in the Star Wars universe, and Richard Adams, best known for writing Watership Down – it is obvious that these two touched many people [myself included] in many different ways.  That apparently was the purpose of their lives.  But what about the rest of us?  Our spheres of influence are much, much smaller – limited by time and location, and sometimes by opportunity.  We kinda muddle through our lives, trying to do more good than harm [well most of us anyway – there are those souls who enjoy causing mayhem and damage] and facing the intimations of our mortality with resignation or even despair as  we realize that whatever difference we made is virtually undetectable.

From very young, there were two things that I said I wanted of my life:  I was going to live to be 100 and I was going to “leave a Carol-sized hole when I was gone”.    Of course the first is not within the realm of my control – tomorrow is promised to no one after all -- but that second one?  Billions of souls come and go on this good earth but not everyone’s death is even noticed …..   and there my noodling breaks down, which is why I haven’t written that philosophy book yet.  OTOH:  I firmly believe that every soul matters.   OTOH: I firmly believe that not every light shines for everyone.  When and if I get these two contrary beliefs reconciled I’ll let you know.

I can haz a new year nau?

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

counting down the days....

Today is the 3rd day of the 52nd week, the 27th day of the 12th month, the 362nd day of 2016, and: 
  • Free Balloon Day (SpongeBob Squarepants)
  • Howdy Doody Day
  • Make Cut Out Snowflakes Day
  • National Fruitcake Day
  • Third day of the 12 Days of Christmas
  • Visit the Zoo Day
ON THIS DAY:  In 537 in Istanbul the Hagia Sophia [a Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal basilica, later an imperial mosque, and now a museum] was completed. In 1512 the Spanish Crown issued the Laws of Burgos, governing the conduct of settlers with regard to native Indians in the New World.  In 1521 the Zwickau prophets arrive in Wittenberg preaching the Apocalypse.  In 1831 Charles Darwin embarked on his journey aboard the HMS Beagle, during which he will begin to formulate his theory of evolution.  In 1845 ether anesthetic was used for childbirth for the first time by Dr Crawford Long in Jefferson, Georgia.  In 1845 journalist John L. O'Sullivan, writing in his newspaper the New York Morning News, first used the phrase "by the right of our manifest destiny" for US western expansion.  In 1911 "Jana Gana Mana", the national anthem of India, was first sung in the Calcutta Session of the Indian National Congress.  In 1922 the Japanese aircraft carrier Hōshō became the first purpose built aircraft carrier to be commissioned in the world.  In 1927 Show Boat, considered to be the first true American musical play, opens at the Ziegfeld Theatre on Broadway.  In 1932 Radio City Music Hall, "Showplace of the Nation", opened in New York City.  In 1935 Regina Jonas was ordained as the first female rabbi in the history of Judaism.  In 1945 the International Monetary Fund was created with the signing of an agreement by 29 nations.  In 1947 the children's TV program "Howdy Doody" debuted on NBC.  In 1966 the Cave of Swallows, the largest known cave shaft in the world, was discovered in Aquismón, San Luis Potosí, Mexico.  In 1968 Apollo 8 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, ending the first orbital manned mission to the Moon.  In2004 radiation from an explosion on the magnetar SGR 1806-20 reached Earth -- the brightest extrasolar event known to have been witnessed on the planet.

Christmas is wonderful, especially with little kids, but it is a lot of work for just one day!  As a result, I have stubbornly adhered to “Christmas week” and gladly interpret “Happy Holidays” as meaning we get to celebrate from Christmas Eve through New Year’s day – not quite the 12 days of Christmas, slightly more than the 8 days of Chanukah but not as long as Advent!  As such, I have been on a self-imposed moratorium of political postings or even musings.  And I am still trying to concentrate on other news when keeping abreast with current events, hoping not to add to the polarization and nastiness that seems to accompany politics these days.  I’ve done pretty well with biting my tongue -- the only things slipping through is an occasional post about the valiant struggle of the water protectors blocking the DAPL, a few funny [at least to me] jabs, and the admission that the angst about the future is real and tangible.

2016 has been a rough year – I think that is something we all can agree on.  And 2017 starts a whole new story that I hope we will be happy with when we look back this time next year.  That is what I am trying to focus on…..

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

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Eve's Eve

Today is the 6th day of the 51st week, the 23rd day of the 12th month, the 358th day of 2016, and:
  • Festivus
  • Human Light Celebration
  • National Pfeffernüsse Day
  • National Roots Day
ON THIS DAY:  In 484 Huneric died and is succeeded by his nephew Gunthamund, who becomes king of the Vandals -- during his reign Christians are protected from persecution.  In 1783 George Washington resigned as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army at the Maryland State House in Annapolis, Maryland.  1788 Maryland passed an act to cede a parcel of land for the seat of the national government, part of which later became the District of Columbia.  In 1823 the poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" by Clement C Moore was first published, in the Troy (NY) Sentinel.  In 1893 the opera Hansel and Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck [wait, what?  I thought he was the that pop singer....] was first performed.  In 1947 the transistor was first demonstrated at Bell Laboratories.  In 1970 the North Tower of the World Trade Center in Manhattan, NY NY was topped out at 1,368 feet (417 m), making it the tallest building in the world. 

So today is the last business day before Christmas.  It is really nice having Christmas fall on a Sunday – most of us have off on Saturday [Christmas Eve] AND a federal holiday on Monday so the day after Christmas [AKA Boxing Day]  we’re off as well.  Traffic was really light, but Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts were both mobbed, with lines going out the door.  Those of us who are in the office are definitely not focused, but trying to deal with business, and most places are closing early. 

I am trying very hard to stay in the holiday spirit to the point of not reading some social media as well as ignoring the news as much as possible what with the specter of another arms race being raised via Twitter, the Rockettes being forced to perform whether they want to or not,  and North Carolina showing how easily democracy can be castrated…..  Get over this election?  I am still very much afraid that at best we put an unbalanced reality show star in the White House while at worst we have elected a dictator even while I continue to hope that he will mature and season in the Oval Office to the point where while I might not agree with his decisions, at least I will feel that we have come to the end of days!.  Seriously, for the first time in decades, I have actually thought about the fact that I and most of my family would be wiped out in the first wave of nuclear bombing and wondered whether or not relocating would be a good idea.  I just keep wondering how Germans felt back in 1937, whether or not they had any inkling or foreboding of what was to come.  Maybe they didn’t, but if they did, did they feel as helpless as I do to stem the tide?  Or did they keep telling themselves that it couldn’t possibly be as bad as all that? 

So I keep playing Christmas music and concentrating on friends, family and my 2nd Life singing to myself softly “let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me…..”

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Friday, December 23, 2016

North VS South

Today is the 4th day of the 51st week, the 21st day of the 12th month, the 356th day of 2016, and: 
  • Anne and Samantha Day --  the explanation can be found here
  • Celebrate Short Fiction Day
  • Crossword Puzzle Day
  • Forefathers' Day
  • Global Orgasm Day
  • Humbug Day [no “bah”]
  • International Dalek Remembrance Day – threatening extermination for 53 years
  • National Flashlight Day
  • National French Fried Shrimp Day
  • National Hamburger Day
  • National Homeless Persons' Memorial Day
  • National Kiwi Fruit Day
  • National Look at the Bright Side Day
  • Phileas Fogg Win a Wager Day – and he was home for the holidays
  • Short Girl Appreciation Day – I always appreciate this one 
  • The First Day of Winter – just think, after this the days get longer, although it never feels like it
  • World Peace Day
  • Yule – blessed be and happy Yule
ON THIS DAY:  In 69 the Roman Senate declared Vespasian emperor of Rome, the last in the Year of the Four Emperors.  In 1620 William Bradford and the Mayflower Pilgrims landed on what is now known as Plymouth Rock in Plymouth, Massachusetts.  In 1872 the HMS Challenger, commanded by Captain George Nares, sailed from Portsmouth, England.  In 1879 – World premiere of Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, Denmark. In 1898 Pierre and Marie Curie discovered the radioactive element radium.  In 1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the world's first full-length animated feature, premiered at the Carthay Circle Theatre.  In 1913 the first crossword puzzle was published, in the New York World.  In 1968 Apollo 8 was launched from the Kennedy Space Center, placing its crew on a lunar trajectory for the first visit to another celestial body by humans. 

Did you ever wonder just how different the rhythm of our holidays would be if the cradle of most of the major religions was not the Northern Hemisphere?  December and especially the winter solstice is a time of reflection and when it appears that most big religious holidays are celebrated – would we be celebrating in June if the major influence was from south of the equator, because that is when their shortest day is?  Right now Australia is in the dead of summer, and all of these observances of Yule and Christmas must feel a little off kilter at times, neh?

Only six more working days until 2017 and all those EOY reports and reconciliations that everyone wants done and out to them on January 3rd…..

*props feet up and toasts the holidays*

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


Today is the 3rd day of the 51st week, the 20th day of the 12th month, the 355th day of 2016, and: 
  • Cathode-Ray Tube Day
  • Dot Your I’s Day
  • Games Day
  • Go Caroling Day
  • International Human Solidarity Day
  • Mudd Day
  • National Sangria Day
  • Poet Laureat Day
  • Sacagawea Day
  • Winter solstice's eve
  • World Day of Prayer and Action for Children
ON THIS DAY:  In 69 Vespasian, formerly a general under Nero, entered Rome to claim the title of Emperor.  In 1606 the Virginia Company loaded three ships with settlers and set sail to establish Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in the Americas.  In 1803 The Louisiana Purchase was completed as the territory was formally transferred from France to the US during ceremonies in New Orleans. In 1917 Cheka, the first Soviet secret police force, was founded.  In 1946 the popular Christmas film It's a Wonderful Life was first released in New York City.  In 1951 the EBR-1 in Arco, Idaho became the first nuclear power plant to generate electricity -- it powered four light bulbs.  In 1955 Cardiff was proclaimed the capital city of Wales, United Kingdom.  In 1957 the initial production version of the Boeing 707 made its first flight.  In 1967 a Pennsylvania Railroad Budd Metroliner exceeded 155 mph on their New York Division, also present day Amtrak's Northeast Corridor.  In 1971 the international aid organization Doctors Without Borders was founded by Bernard Kouchner and a group of journalists in Paris, France.  In 2007 Elizabeth II became the oldest monarch of the UK, surpassing Queen Victoria, who lived for 81 years, 7 months and 29 days.  In 2013 China successfully launched the Bolivian Túpac Katari 1 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. 

So much for not reading the news:  Yesterday the Electoral College performed its constitutional function and confirmed the elections results.  The outcome was never really in doubt, and I am unsure whether it should’ve  been – can you imagine the roars of wounded outrage, conspiracy and injustice if DJT had NOT been elected?  But the fact is that he did NOT win the popular vote and ¾ of the population either voted for someone else or didn’t vote at all.  The requirement for “winner take all” voting, however, is not in the constitution but has been set up by the states.   I would like to see that changed and the electors voting as the population of the individual state voted – having them vote their conscience isn’t really helpful because the majority are basically state-level party hacks.  Personally I would like to see the process dismantled, but then you get into the whole discussion about why population centers should dictate the living conditions for the entire country and I do not have an answer for that.  And I continue to worry as I read about the rallies and the separate security – the US is starting to sound more and more like one of what we used to dismissively label a “banana republic”. 

And I am back to the workaday world.  Yesterday was pretty intense – got yelled at by the doctor first thing in the morning and then had a mountain of transactions to process.   While it was nice to hear that it was a rough week without me, it was not much fun to have that translated into a rough day back!  If you notice, I haven’t been reminding you how many shopping days until Christmas:  [1] it’s too close and not funny anymore and [2] I’m done and everything is wrapped.  Ah the benefit of having time off and doing a staycation this time of year!

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

remember that resolution to not read the news?

Today is the 7th day of the 50th week, the 17th of the 12th month, the 352nd day of 2016, and: 
  • Clean Air Day
  • National Maple Syrup Day
  • National Re-gifting Day
  • Pan American Aviation Day
  • Wright Brothers Day
ON THIS DAY:  In 497 BC the first Saturnalia festival was celebrated in ancient Rome.  In 1790 the Aztec calendar stone was discovered.  In 1865 the Unfinished Symphony by Franz Schubert was first performed.  In 1892 the first issue of Vogue was published.  In 1903 the Wright brothers made the first controlled powered, heavier-than-air flight in the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  In 1938 Otto Hahn discovered the nuclear fission of the heavy element uranium, the scientific and technological basis of nuclear energy.  In 1957 the United States successfully launched the first Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile at Cape Canaveral, Florida.  In 1969 the US Air Force closed its Project "Blue Book" by concluding there was no evidence of extraterrestrial spaceships behind thousands of UFO sightings.  Also in 1969 an estimated 50 million viewers watched singer Tiny Tim marry Miss Vicky on NBC's "Tonight Show."  In 1989 the animated TV series "The Simpsons" premiered on Fox.  In 2003 Space Ship One, piloted by Brian Binnie, made its first powered and first supersonic flight. 


I am still trying NOT to read and react to the news as I search among my things for the Spirit of Christmas Present.  Of course I haven’t minded stirring up controversy about math, but I have been trying not to offer any deliberate provocation.   Among the things I read, but decided not to share on social media today:
 Now if you will excuse me, I’m going to stick my nose in a book and ignore the world.

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

12 years ago today....

Today is the 12th anniversary of Frank’s death.

He was 12 years older than I and had led a rough life; we always knew it was probable that he would leave me a widow and we had discussed what would happen when he was gone.  Intellectually, especially after his second stroke, I knew that his lease on life was running out.  But I was totally unprepared for that phone call that afternoon.

It was 1:30 PM and I was in the office of one of my direct reports, trying hard to open a line of communication between her and Accounting – Loan Ops was always in conflict with that department because every single thing we do impacts the general ledger.  The switchboard operator called me over the loudspeaker, asking me to call her immediately.  I asked Janice if I could use her phone, and she moved from behind her desk to let me do so.  I called Myra – and she gave me the number of a police officer that was trying to reach me. 

Needless to say, I called him back immediately.  He told me that Frank had been taken to the hospital and gave me the number of the doctor to call.  At that point Janice asked me if she could do anything and I asked her to go get Kevin, my boss and friend.  Kevin was there even as I finally got connected to the doctor.  The woman seemed evasive on the phone, not answering my questions about what was wrong no matter how specifically I asked them, and I was getting rather exasperated.  Kevin just watched and his eyebrows flew up when finally I said “Are you trying not to tell me my husband is dead?”  And everything shifted around me as my life changed when that poor harassed doctor, who did not want to tell me on the phone, simply said “yes”. 

His Rolex stopped at 9:35 AM, which is the time when they found him slumped over the steering wheel in the drifting security car.  The time of death was officially 10:35 AM – the ambulance crew knew Frank and knew if he was declared DOA at the scene there would have to be an autopsy [very few police or ER want to be cut open after dying], so I will always believe they went thru the motions until he got to the hospital and he actually departed when the watch stopped.   Because he had not changed the emergency contact information at his job when I started a new job, they couldn’t reach me.  His supervisor realized his cell phone was in his locker – we didn’t have lock screens back then, so they were able to get into it and find “Carol work” and finally call me, four hours later.

12 years, 3 jobs, and 2 moves later and the memories of that moment still break my heart.

Franklin L Tucker

June 2, 1938 - December 16, 2004
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Friday, December 16, 2016

the Moon

Today is the 3rd day of the 50th week, the 13th day of the 12th month, the 348th day of 2016, and: 
  • Ice Cream Day
  • National Violin Day
  • Pick a Pathologist Pal Day
ON THIS DAY:  In 1294 Saint Celestine V resigned the papacy after only five months to return to his previous life as an ascetic hermit.  In 1577 Sir Francis Drake set sail from Plymouth, England, on his round-the-world voyage.  In 1642 Dutch navigator Abel Tasman arrived in present-day New Zealand.  In 1769 Dartmouth College was founded by the Reverend Eleazar Wheelock, with a royal charter from King George III, on land donated by Royal governor John Wentworth in New Hampshire, US.  In 1928 George Gershwin's An American in Paris was first performed.  In 1958 a small bushy-tailed squirrel monkey named Gordo was fired into space in the nose cone of a Jupiter rocket -- after surviving more than 1,500 miles in the rocket a technical problem with the recovery gear meant a parachute failed to open and the nose-cone sank taking Gordo with it.  In 1962 NASA launched Relay 1, the first active repeater communications satellite in orbit.  In 1972 Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt begin the third and final extra-vehicular activity (EVA) or "Moonwalk" of Apollo 17 -- to date they are the last humans to set foot on the Moon.

Tonight the last super moon, the last full moon of 2016 rose.   This December moon is called the “Cold Moon” for obvious reasons or the “Long Nights Moon” because it occurs near the winter solstice—the night with the least amount of daylight. In December, 2016, the winter solstice will occur on Wednesday, December 21 at 5:44 AM EST

And it has been 44 years since that last moon walk.   

I remember back when we believed – whole heartedly and fervently – that the present was better than the past and the future was going to be even better.  We thought the next step would be colonization of the Moon and then Mars and asteroids.  By now? There would be entire families living in space and space flight would be routine…..   And then somehow the story changed and the whole leap to the stars collapsed.  You want to make America great again?  We were explorers, we were scientists, we WERE the future.    We knew the way.  Give us back that dream….

Look at that moon tonight -- and remember

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Tuesday, December 13, 2016

better watch out!

Today is the 2nd day of the 50th week, the 12th day of the 12th month, the 347th day of 2016, and: 
  • Feast of Masá'il ("Questions"), the first day of the 15th month of the Bahá'í calendar
  • Festival of Unmentionable Thoughts
  • Gingerbread House Day
  • Green Monday
  • National 12-hour Fresh Breath Day
  • National Ambrosia Day
  • National Cocoa Day
  • National Ding-a-Ling Day
  • National Lost Day
  • Our Lady of Guadelupe
  • Poinsettia Day
 ON THIS DAY:  In 627 at the Battle of Nineveh, a Byzantine army under Emperor Heraclius defeated Emperor Khosrau II's Persian forces, commanded by General Rhahzadh.  In 1858 the Province of Canada releases its First decimal 1¢, 5¢, 10¢ and 20¢ coins; only 421,000 cents, struck at the Royal Mint in England, are ready for circulation.   In 1897 Belo Horizonte, the first planned city in Brazil, was founded.  In 1901 Guglielmo Marconi received the first transatlantic radio signal (the letter "S" [***] in Morse Code), at Signal Hill in St John's, Newfoundland.  In 1925 the first motel, the Motel Inn, opened, in San Luis Obispo, California.  In 2012 North Korea successfully launched its first satellite, Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 Unit 2, using an Unha-3 carrier rocket.

Today is the 5th day of my staycation.  It was nice to have a Sunday night that wasn’t taken up by getting ready for the morning.  Missed watching Once Upon a Time though – the ballyhooed “winter season finale” was most unsatisfying.   What is it with shows taking months off in the middle of the year anyway?    Still trying to ignore the news, still trying to get into the Christmas spirit – and yes I know I stopped telling you how many shopping days are left.  It’s not funny when it is this close to the deadline….

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Monday, December 12, 2016

all I want for Christmas....

Today is 7th day of the 49th week, the 10th day of the 12th month, the 345th day of 2016, and: 
  • Day of the Horse
  • Dewey Decimal System Day
  • Festival for the Souls of Dead Whales
  • Gingerbread Decorating Day
  • Human Rights Day
  • International Shareware Day
  • Jane Addams Day
  • National Lager Day
  • National Wreaths Across America Day
  • Nobel Prize Day
ON THIS DAY:  In 1041 the son of Empress Zoë of Byzantium succeeded to the throne of the Eastern Roman Empire as Michael V.  In 1684 Isaac Newton's derivation of Kepler's laws from his theory of gravity, contained in the paper De motu corporum in gyrum, was read to the Royal Society by Edmond Halley.  In 1799 France adopted the metre as its official unit of length.  In 1868 the first traffic lights were installed, outside the Palace of Westminster in London -- resembling railway signals, they use semaphore arms and are illuminated at night by red and green gas lamps.  In 1884 Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was published.  In 1896 Alfred Jarry's Ubu Roi premieres in Paris; a riot breaks out at the end of the performance.  In 1901 the first Nobel Prizes were awarded.  In 1902 the reservoir of the Aswan Dam in Egypt opened.  In 1965 The Grateful Dead played their first concert, at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco. In 1993 the last shift left Wearmouth Colliery in Sunderland; the closure of the 156-year-old pit marks the end of the old County Durham coalfield, which had been in operation since the Middle Ages.  In 1998 six astronauts opened the doors to the new international space station.  In 2016 NASA Voyager is 19 hrs 05 mins 43 secs of light-travel time from Earth.


I’m still trying to more on from this election, but the news continues to be rather dire – between the tweets, the cabinet, the CIA assessment and the TV deal, I am having difficulty NOT worrying.  I continue wondering how the Germans felt back in 1937, if they felt a sense of impending doom and just told themselves it was their imaginations, that they were just overreacting ….


Maybe the holidays and the new year will usher in some sanity.  Could I find that in my stocking or under the tree, please?

0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Saturday, December 10, 2016

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