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Friday, July 26, 2019

So Starbucks will stop selling newspapers. What's a newspaper?

You won't be able to buy The New York Times, Wall Street Journal or any local newspaper at Starbucks come September because Starbucks is going out of the newspaper business.

Isn't everybody?

"Is Starbucks still selling coffee?" Well, yes, but...

"Phew! Then that's fine by me."

Oh, I get it. You're  under 50 (or 40 or 30) and don't care. You never did. And while that sounds snotty, it isn't meant to be. That's just the fact. That's called progress. Everything evolves from start to never ending. We will not be driving our own cars by May 12, 2057 according to my inside information.

Og in his office
Little known fact about newspapers: While most think newspapers began with moveable type and then Benjamin Franklin, it was actually Og, in CMMMII BC who published The Daily Stone with this crazy headline: "Wheel To Replace Dragging by MMMD BC," and he was right on. Newspaper journalism has always been of the highest standard.   

 I really do get it, but with some sadness. Nobody (well maybe a few) reads newspapers anymore, preferring to get their news, entertainment and everything else in the world on a 2"x 4" screen. It's cleaner, faster and with them all the time. But, it is not as complete, not easily clip-able and doesn't give a complete or full story unless you keep clicking. Most significant, you never know what you don't know and have learned to not care much about that.

The reason most never read newspapers today is because they don't want to. And besides, you can't talk or text or take pictures with your newspaper.

Supply and demand automatically determine what works and what doesn't. And newspapers don't. So Boo Hoo. We evolve or die. That goes for everything.

If you care for further great newspaper insight, check these links out... or don't. I'm getting in my stick-shift car now and driving myself around to look for the closest phone booth so I can call the library to ask the librarian to look up something for me.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Louie Armstrong touched us in many ways but none better than with this reminder

Went to a Memorial Service for a wonder -ful lady recently. It was sad but special in other ways as we remembered all the riches she had shared. This was a good one for a lady beloved for her lifelong caring of people and the world around her.

She was a talented artist with a sense of humor who was cherished by her husband of many years and all who were lucky to know her.

Her favorite word was 'Wonderful!" She used it often because she felt it strongly. And this song, sung beautifully at her memorial, served to remind us that we so often miss the forest because the trees get in the way. Are we cock-eyed or is our world?

The beauty of life and love and nature and blessings abounding is often muddied by so few that we tend to forget what it's all about.

It's a Wonderful World
I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself what a wonderful world
I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world
The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
They're really saying I love you
I hear babies crying, I watch them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll never know
And I think to myself what a wonderful world
Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world
 Written by George Weiss and Robert Thiele

 Here it is, sung by Louie Armstrong.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Ever had a float? What's a float? It's... well, a float!

Had my first float on my last trip to Seattle. 

What's a float, you may ask. I couldn't have told you before now, but wow!, floating therapy is a great experience in sensual deprivation, uniquely yours for an introductory $37 price tag, Don't be surprised if you fall in love with the most quiet and calming sensation you will ever experience.

A little more information: My Seattle daughter had two tickets for one-hour sessions at Lifefloat, Seattle's premier float spa, offering a world class sensory deprivation experience in private expansive pools as the photo shows. So we did that... and it was wonderful. What it does for mind, body and spirit can only be felt by experience but the sensation and well-feeling is 'a keeper.'

Why is it called a float? Well, because you do. You can't help it. The freshly drawn water for every
To your health!
client is blended with Epsom Salts to the point of making you buoyant in about a foot of water. You  can't sink, even if you tried. Yes, it is weird... in a strange and satisfying way. You are offered something for a head rest if you choose so you don't consciously have to worry about water in your face or up your nose, and earplugs if you don't want water in your ears. And that's it. Some floaters, I was told, even fall asleep during the experience.  I could have.

At Lifefloat, you arrive 15-minutes before your session and are shown to your private, lockable, neatly tiled and immaculately clean room, one of a number of rooms off a larger hall, and told everything you need to know.  Your room has your own shower, toilet and dressing/undressing area plus an 8x6' float pool as the photo shows. Best advise for first timers is to learn to relax... and trust the experience. That may take a few minutes but it does work.

Many float sans clothes but that's up to you. Since the water is at body temperature, some say it is akin to being in the womb again... and would you have clothes on in your mom's womb? Nah!

You take a quick pre-soak shower before entering your pool where you will control your lights, or no lights, and sound--soft music, background sound or no sound at all--as you begin your 60 minute session. I floated with soft music in total darkness for a while, then turned off the music. There is no clock or timer but when your time is up, the lights will gently come on.

After, you shower again and dress. There is a lounge area for tea and soft music if you choose to help you transition to the world again.

Seattle has a modest number of these float companies, some not as nicely done as this one but with the same float experience. All have fresh water, recycled and filtered 4 times, shower soap, hair dryer, etc. for each client. Other cities have similar venues, in some places as part of a larger spa. Lifefloat even has pool access for those with mobility and/or special needs.

Float therapy has been around since the 1950s and touted for its benefits in such diverse magazines as Vogue and Forbes. It has a considerable reputation as mindfulness has grown as a great adjunct to a more peaceful inner-self. It's worth a try if you are intrigued.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Some people have bedbugs. We have hummingbirds... and darned lucky at that!

Ever seen anything so fascinating as a hummingbird... or better yet, four hummingbirds?

They come to our feeder because we have a 4-hummingbird rating on Yelp, and they put on quite a show.

Our feeder (in red, their favorite color) has had the same bird returning now for the third year, and this time, with three others. We know it is a 'he' because of the ferocious manner in guarding his never-ending food, four parts water, one  part sugar. Only 'hes' do that unless there are more users than he can defend against. When others try to feed here, he attacks like the Red Baron in the Snoopy comic, and, say the birders, sometimes actually stabs with his pointed beak.

There are dozens of 'dog fights' at times... and they really do look like dog fights.

Hummingbirds flap their tiny wings up to 100 beats per second and can remain stationary in flight as well as fly backwards as they dive and dart at amazing speed. Yet, when they are feeding, their beating wings steady them over the flower or feeder while their beak remains rock-steady.

They are the only bird that cannot walk. The smallest of the species weighs less than a dime but our
birds weigh in at about a nickel. They come in a wide variety of colors and habits, each seemingly more beautiful than the other. And they are loners for the most part, forever active in their pursuit of food. Their energy level and rapid heartbeat uses calories so rapidly that in a day, they will digest their weight in nectar and sugar water if available. If not for feeders, flowers are the bigger source, mostly red flowers but all bright colors will work.

In their constant dashes around the feeder, they often encroach on our deck by a yard or two, even when we are present. And occasionally, they will stop mid-air at a distance of three feet  or so and give us a look. Yes, it takes a little getting used to. Their wings make a whirring sound though they do have a tiny voice that is occasionally heard if you have good ears. And they excrete in a 'not even noticeable' squirt that disappears in the air before it becomes problematic. With three dogs, that would be the straw that broke the camel's back. And where would we get those tiny sacks anyway?

Amazingly, these little things migrate when the weather turns cold. Ours, fly to southern Mexico at up to 500 miles non-stop at a time. They use the wind if they can and will even ride on the back of other migrating birds along the way. They most often migrate alone. Hummingbirds can, lab tests show, fly and feed into a 20 mph headwind, their tail feathers fanning and positioning with the wind to keep them in place while their rock-steady beak feeds.Their maximum speed is 30 mpg but they have been clocked at a speeding ticket 60 in a dive, so you can imagine how fast they can pursue.

They remember and often return to the same spot in the spring. They can live up to four years but two is seen as average because their lives are so arduous. When mating, the female typically lays two very tiny eggs that hatch a week apart, so she can supply enough food for both 'til the fledglings leave the small nest. And typically, the mother gets a free pass to any territorial father's realm.

Rufus the Hawk
Now contrast that with the world's largest bird, the royal albatross, with a wingspan greater than 11 feet.

Or the long extinct Pelagornis Sandersi, the original 'Big Bird,' with a 24-feet wingspan, bigger than some of today's small aircraft.

Or Rufus the Hawk who plays a crucial role at Wimbledon. It is Rufus's job to keep the pigeons away, lest something distracting plops on a player's forehead at mid-serve.

Isn't nature incredible?

Friday, July 12, 2019

Think your electric bill is high? This should make you feel better. (Some of this and a little of that.)

A Penn- 
sylvania woman got a $284- billion electric bill in the mail last January.
"We put up Christmas lights," she said, "and I wondered if  had put them up wrong." Well, I guess! But my-oh-my, what a show that must have been.

  • In Tennessee you CAN now legally carry guns into the state legislature... BUT, you CAN NOT carry home-made signs! Legislators explained, "Hand-carried signs and signs on hand-sticks represent a serious safety hazard." Don't they know "sticks don't kill people, people kill people." Gun rights trump (natural pun) free speech, I guess.
  • In 2013, following Barack Obama's second term victory, American gun companies produced almost 11 million firearms, 222 percent more than produced in the year after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  The number of pointed sticks produced is not known.
  •  The universe is expanding at a rate of about 72 kilometers per second... faster than the speed of light. So, that's forever, right?

  • The first electronic calculator on sale in 1957 could add, subtract and multiply. It weighed 308 pounds and sold for $11,000 in today's equivalent. So the abacus wasn't that bad after all. It just didn't do billions and trillions well... but what was a billion or trillion in those days?
  • An estimated 50,000 limbs were amputated during the Civil War. Amputation was better than killer gangrene infections despite the fact that 'biting a bullet' was the closest thing to anesthesia and sterilization was not even known except by "kooks with a crazy idea."
  • An Illinois anti-gambling activist won $25,000 in a sweepstakes game. She quickly explained it was "God showing His grace on me" for her noble fight against gambling. Hmm, two-to-one God wins every time. 
  • Over the last 50 years our prison population has increased 500 percent. We now have 2.2 million behind bars. The United States represents 4.4 percent of the world's population but houses 22 percent of the world's prisoners. Yippee! We're NUMBER ONE! We must be doing something right... or wrong.
  • Our moon, being constantly bombarded by micrometeorites traveling at 33,000 miles per hour, is eroding at the alarming rate of 0.04 inches every million years. At this rate, we will have no songs like "Shine on Harvest Moon" or " By the Light of the Silvery Moon" or "Moon River" to sing to our sweethearts when we are a billion years old. Hope I don't live that long. 
  • A doctor walks into the examining room and puts his hand on the patients' shoulder. "I'm afraid I have some bad news for you. You're dying and you don't have much time left." "Oh no!" replies the patient. "How long do I have to live?" "Ten," the doctor says. "Ten what? Days? Weeks? Months?" The doctor calmly replies, "Nine... "