January 27, 2022

When the daughter of a friend of mine had her second birthday I gave her a Corn Popper Push Toy.  The toy looked like a corn popper on a set of wheels and was meant to be pushed around the house by the child.  As the wheels turned the balls inside the clear sphere would bounce up and down, making the pop, pop, pop noise of a corn popper.  The toy seemed to be loved by most children at the time, and the girl would push the popper around the house for hours on end, driving my friend crazy.  One day she told me she could hardly wait until I had a child so she could buy such a thoughtful gift for them.  I had no children, so I was not worried.  When I did have a son, she made good on her promise and gave him a Corn Popper toy for his birthday.  Sadly, he also loved to play with his popper.

When I looked online, I found the latest toy craze are fidgets.  A fidget toy is an object that can be given to a child to regulate their need for movement and touch.  This enhances the ability to remain calm, focused, and attentive.  Fidget toys provide a place for kids to direct energy in a less distracting and more socially appropriate way while they focus on the task at hand (listening to a classroom lesson or paying attention to a book during circle time).  If you are the parent or grandparent of school-aged child, chances are you are aware of these toys.  A new fidget has taken the world by storm called Pop It.  The toy has spread around the world and is also known as crazy poppers, crazy snaps, push pop fidgets, and bubble pop.  This is basically a round disc that flips over when you are done popping so you can start again on the other side.  Pop It is advertised as having all the fun of bubble wrap without the waste (who does not like to pop bubble wrap?).  I bet this popper still drives parents and teachers crazy.

While the fidget toys have taken over the elementary age children, the traditional Corn Popper is still a best seller for pre-school children.  It has even morphed over the years and is offered in a variety of shapes (turtles, cars, telephones, lawn mowers).   Push and pull toys are designed for toddlers that have learned to walk but have yet to master the skill of pushing or pulling things behind them.  While some pull toys are animal-shaped, others feature moving parts like bobbing heads or gaping mouths.  I have seen (and heard) lawn mower toys like the one I saw sitting on a front lawn near our house last week.  Like the Corn Popper they are loud and maddening, even if they do help the child master motor skills.  I would bet the parents knew the toy was outside in the elements and left it anyway.  

Thoughts:  Like the Pop It craze the Fidget spinner was the craze in 2017.  The toy was promoted as helping people who have trouble focusing or those who may need to fidget to relieve nervous energy, anxiety, or psychological stress.  There are claims that a fidget spinner can help calm people with anxiety or neurodivergence (ADHD and autism).  There is no scientific evidence they are an effective treatment.  Office products like stress balls have been marketed for adults based on the same premise.  When I worked for the state, I was constantly asked (uninformed?) questions that it was my job to answerer.  I was given a stress cube by another worker.  After the person left, I could respond by pushing one of its explosive sounds (my head going off) buttons.  Perhaps this was still justice for getting my friend the Corn Popper.  Do the work.  Follow the science.  Change is coming and it starts with you.


January 26, 2022

With all the cold weather we are (now) getting it has placed a stress on our batteries.  I had mentioned Melissa’s battery going weak and my replacing it before she went on her trip.  Two months before that I replaced the battery in our sports car as it had sat too long and had gone completely dead.  I replaced the battery in my niece’s car when she had stayed with us last fall.  I also replaced the batteries in both my lawn mower and boat over the summer.  I am getting to know the man who sells batteries very well.

When I looked online, I found the electric current generated by a battery is produced when a connection is made between its positive and negative terminals.  When the terminals are connected, a chemical reaction is initiated that generates electrons to supply the current of the battery.  Lowering the ambient temperature causes the chemical reaction to proceed slower, so a battery used at a low temperature produces less current than at a higher temperature.  As cold batteries run down, they can quickly reach the point where they cannot deliver enough current to start the vehicle.  When a battery is not in use, leakage between the terminals will still cause it to slowly lose its charge.  This chemical reaction is also temperature-dependent, so unused batteries lose their charge slower at cooler temperatures than at warmer temperatures.  I always buy household batteries in quantity to have them available, then store them in the refrigerator to make them last longer.  Now I know why.

The lead acid batteries in all my vehicles contain lead and sulfuric acid and were all recycled at the automotive store where I purchased the new ones.  The secondary (rechargeable cells) of Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) have heavy metals and should be recycled properly.  The button cells are hard to identify as being silver, mercury, or alkaline, so it is recommended to treat them as hazardous and recycle them properly.  The small household batteries are alkaline cells (manganese dioxide) and along with the heavy-duty batteries (carbon zinc) are considered harmless.  These batteries can be disposed of in the normal waste stream (except in California), but that does not mean they should be.  Recycling batteries not only diverts potential hazardous metals from the landfills but allows valuable metals to be reclaimed, minimizing the need to mine virgin resources.  Recycling centers are located across the US.

Thoughts:  While I was on my reorganization mission last week, I took some of my electronics to the city recycling center.  When I looked in the recycle bin, I saw a large bag filled with old household batteries.  I had felt bad about throwing these in the trash but did not know where to take them instead.  Melissa later replaced the batteries in her flashlight and asked if we were recycling the batteries.  I told her of the center, and she made a plastic bag to store our used batteries until they go to recycling.  Another tip I found was to cover the end node with cellophane tape to avoid sparking as the batteries rub together, as this can ignite a fire.  As with most things, the information is out there if you care enough to look.  Do the work.  Follow the science.  Change is coming and it starts with you.


January 25, 2022

Fiona the Hippo turned five yesterday (January 24) along with all the fanfare that has marked her life since before birth.  The initial concern of the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden staff was Fiona’s mother Bibi, and it did not appear the calf would survive.  Fiona was born six weeks premature when she arrived in 2017 and only weighed 29 lb (13 kg).  Over the next critical days Fiona captured the attention of Cincinnati and the world.  The zoo’s marketing spokesperson said Fiona symbolizes the perseverance, resilience, and attaining the impossible.  “She is the story of hope.”  Fiona is also a brand, as her image has been attached to cookies, coffee, shirts, mugs, and books.  More than 375,000 books have been sold and given to teachers, children, and parents to spread Fiona’s story of perseverance.  While the zoo does not have a specific accounting of the Fiona commerce, it was thought to be nearly $500,000 by her first birthday. 

When I looked online, I found the hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius), also called the hippo, common hippopotamus, or river hippopotamus, is a large, mostly herbivorous, semiaquatic mammal and ungulate native to sub-Saharan Africa.  It is one of only two extant species in the Hippopotamidae family, the other being the pygmy hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis or Hexaprotodon liberiensis).  The name comes from the ancient Greek for “river horse”.  The hippopotamus is the third-largest land mammal, after the elephant and rhinoceros.  Despite their physical resemblance to pigs the closest living relatives are cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises), from which they diverged about 55 million years ago.  Hippos are recognizable by their barrel-shaped torsos, wide-opening mouths revealing large canine tusks, nearly hairless bodies, columnar legs, and large size.  Adults average 3,310 lb (1,500 kg) for males and 2,870 lb (1,300 kg) for females.  Despite the stocky shape and short legs, hippos can run 19 mph (30 km/h) over short distances.  Fiona is still small, weighing in at 1800 pounds (816.5 kg).

The Cincinnati Zoo held an invitation-only virtual birthday party to celebrate Fiona’s five years.  You could visit the Cincinnati Zoo’s website and a $5 gift gave you a digital thank you card from Fiona, and a chance to win a prize package containing a one-of-a-kind hippo table by Mark Stoddart, an original kiss painting by Fiona, and a copy of “Happy Birthday, Fiona” by Richard Cowdrey.  Fiona received a Cincinnati Reds jersey with her name and the number 5 on the back, although it was too small for her to wear.  The virtual party took place at noon on the 24th with the grand prize winner announced.  I did not win, but then again, I did not buy a ticket.

Thoughts:  When Fiona was born, she was the zoo’s first newborn hippo and the smallest premature hippo to survive in human care.  The name comes from the tiny, fluted ears which resembled those of the “Shrek” heroine.  While hippos are common in zoos, they can become a nuisance in the wild and are among the most dangerous animals in the world due to its highly aggressive and unpredictable nature.  In the late 1980’s, Pablo Escobar kept four hippos in a private zoo at his residence.  They were deemed too difficult to remove after Escobar’s death in 1993 and were left on the untended estate.  By 2007, the animals had multiplied to 16 and had taken to roaming the area for food.  There are still no plans on managing the population.  Scientists say these hippos are breeding voraciously and are an increasing menace.  Introducing invasive species is rarely a good thing.  Follow the science.  Change is coming and it starts with you.


January 24, 2022

Last week’s Super Wildcard Weekend turned out to be mostly predictable, even if there were several good games.  Seven of the eight games ended with the home team winning with the only loss being the Dallas Cowboys.  The Niners had made it a mundane game and led 23-7 going into the fourth quarter.  Dallas roared to life and put up ten points.  The Cowboys got the ball back with 32 seconds on the clock and moved 39 yards on three quick passes.  With second-and-one at San Francisco’s 41, with 14 seconds and no timeouts, the Cowboys called a QB draw.  Prescott raced through the middle for a 17-yard gain to San Francisco’s 24-yard line.  Dallas hurried to the line to spike the ball, but the referee needing to spot the ball down ran into Prescott on his way to the line.  Time expired before the ball was spiked and the game was over.

I thought the Dallas–Niners game might be the wild finish of the year, but I was wrong.  The first three games of Divisional Weekend ended with game winning field goals in the last seconds by the visiting teams.  That included a low-scoring duel between Rogers and Garoppolo.  San Francisco tied the game at 10-10 with 4:41 left after blocking a punt and running the ball in from the 6-yard line.  After the Packers went three-and-out, the 49ers got the ball back at their 29 with 3:20 left and again drove down the field.  After a disappointing offensive performance, the Niners pieced together the drive they needed at the end of the game.  Facing a third-and-seven, wide receiver Samuel took a handoff nine yards for a first down at Green Bay’s 38.  Samuel’s run set up Robbie Gould’s winning 45-yard field goal as time expired.

Exciting as the first three games being decided by last-second field goals by the visiting team, the fourth game between Kansas City and Buffalo was even better.  The final two minutes saw 25 points scored and the lead changed hands three times.  Buffalo was down 26-21 with two minutes left but the Bills rallied back with a touchdown pass from Allen and a successful 2-point conversion.  Mahomes and the Chiefs stormed down the field in 52 seconds ending with a 64-yard touchdown pass with 1:13 to play.  Allen and the Bills again took the ball down the field and scored with 13 seconds on the clock.  Mahomes then drove the Chiefs into range in to set up a game-tying field goal.  The Chiefs won the coin toss in overtime and immediately drove down the field for a touchdown toss to Kelce.  The final score was 42-36.  This completed the wildest weekend of football I can remember.

Thoughts:  Lost in the middle of the players fireworks this weekend was a fan who ran on the field.  These occurrences do not happen often and for years broadcasters have refused to show the intrusion to discourage copycats.  As always, someone in the stands captured the event and placed it on Twitter.  After the fan eluded security and ran on the field, Stefon Diggs got a running start and leveled him with his shoulder.  Stadium security locked him in a chokehold and promptly escorted him off the field.  The unwelcome visitor was wearing a Travis Kelce jersey and riled up the crowd as he was walked off the field.  While the fan disturbance did not adversely affect the outcome of the game, other interference has.  Fans reach over the fence to catch home runs or fair balls.  Fans use offensive language or throw drinks at players on the court.  Others instead cause fights on planes over having to wear a mask.  It is never all about me.  Do the work.  Follow the science.  Change is coming and it starts with you.


January 22, 2022

Melissa found an online group she thought I might be interested in called Arkansas Birders.  This is a “private” group with just over 9,000 members.  On Facebook private means only members of the group can see the information posted.  While anyone can find the group, there are two questions used to filter out spam accounts.   I joined several days ago and now receive information and photos from other Arkansas birders.  This lets me keep up with where different birds are gathered around the state and helps my identification skills as others post. While I am not a member of a lot of groups, this one provides entertainment and information on the local birding world.

When I looked online, I found a Facebook Group is “a place for group communication, letting people share their common interests and express their opinions.”  Groups let people join others around a common cause, issue, or activity.  The group can post photos and share content about their chosen topic.  Administrators (Admins) of the Group can designate certain members as Group Experts, and a badge appears next to their name so the group can easily identify their posts.  Both Admins and Experts have the ability collaborate on Q&A sessions, address concerns, and respond to questions.  Anybody can create and manage a Facebook Group, and you can join up to 6,000 other Groups.  That must take a long time to sort through the daily information.

Another group I joined is for my family sibs (and mom) on Messenger.  This is not only a great way to keep up with each other, but another way to share our experiences.  This week my sister posted a woodpecker which had been hammering one of the trees in her yard, along with an accompanying photo.  At first, she did not recognize the bird, but when she zoomed in on the photo, she identified it as a Pleated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus).  Pleated woodpeckers range from northern California up into Canada and back down into much of the eastern US.  My identification book says this woodpecker ranges throughout Arkansas.  I have yet to see one. 

Thoughts:  When my sister posted the photo to our Sibs group, my brother responded, “It’s Woody Woodpecker!”  Woody Woodpecker is an animated character that appeared in theatrical short films produced by the Walter Lantz Studio and distributed by Universal Studios between 1940 and 1972.   Lantz said Woody was patterned after the noisy Acorn woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus) who kept him awake at night on his honeymoon.  Woody shares characteristics with the pileated woodpecker in both appearance and his characteristic laugh (ha ha ha HA ha), which resemble the pileated call.  The artistic license of the creators has caused confusion within the birding community for those attempting to classify Woody’s species.  Not every cartoon, movie, or even post is meant to be taken seriously.  Do the work.  Follow the science.  Change is coming and it starts with you.


January 21, 2022

Hidden in the middle of the front section of my local paper this morning I came across an article on xenotransplantation.  Xenotransplantation refers to putting live tissue or organs from a non-human animal source into the human body.  Pigs have long been considered a potential source for transplants as the organs are similar in size to human organs, but rejection by the host has always been a problem.  Recent advances have allowed genetically engineered pigs to provide a heart for a man in Baltimore last month and two kidney transplants last September were given to different brain-dead recipients.  The development of xenotransplantation is primarily driven by the demand for human organs for clinical transplantation.  Currently 10 – 20 patients a day die in the US waiting for an organ transplant.

When I looked online, I found from early 2000 the introduction of Gal-knockout (galactosyltransferase) pigs, has made prolonged survival possible in heart and kidney xenotransplantation.  However, the remaining antibody barriers to non-Gal antigens continued to be a hurdle.  The production of genetically engineered pigs was difficult and required a long time.  Recent advances in gene editing have made the production of genetically engineered pigs easier and more available, and clinical trials have received an international consensus.  Although the potential benefits are considerable, xenotransplantation has raised concerns regarding the potential for infection of recipients and possible subsequent infection into the general human population.  Of public health concern is the potential for cross-species infection by retroviruses, which may be latent and lead to disease years after infection.  Who would believe cross-species viral infection could ever happen?

A related article reported the man who received the pig-heart xenotransplantation once stabbed a man leaving him paralyzed.  The victim’s sister told the BBC’s Today show she thought the recipient was unworthy of the surgery.  The transplant team said a person’s criminal past could never be grounds for refusing treatment.  The University of Maryland Medical Centre said, “It is the solemn obligation of any hospital or health care organization to provide lifesaving care to every patient who comes through their doors based on their medical needs.  Any other standard of care would set a dangerous precedent and would violate the ethical and moral values that underpin the obligation physicians and caregivers have to all patients in their care.”  The attack took place in April 1988 and the man was found guilty of battery and carrying a concealed weapon and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Thoughts:  While the xenotransplantation of a pig heart was reported on the national news, the kidney xenotransplantation came to light months later after it was published as a scientific paper.  The heart prolonged the recipient’s life, but the kidney transplants were considered test trials as both recipients were clinically dead.  Most human transplants involve death, but xenotransplantation is growing and harvesting the organs.  Organs are given according to strict rules that consider physical matching, tissue and blood type matching, medical criteria, waiting time, and severity of illness, and is blind to name, race, sex, and wealth.  Two principles determine who gets a transplant: (1) urgency, the sickest or most likely to die are prioritized, and (2) effectiveness, organs go to those with the greatest chance of success.  This clearly requires consideration of the “ethical and moral values” of the administrators.  Follow the science.  Do the work.  Change is coming and it starts with you.


January 20, 2022

I was forwarded an article this week about the Modoc Tribe.  The ancestral home of the Modoc Nation consisted of over 5,000 square miles along what is now the California-Oregon border.  The Modoc were a culturally detached and unique band who would occasionally form war parties to drive out unwelcome visitors or raid neighboring tribes.  The arrival of white Americans in the early 19th century forever changed their lives.  Eventually the traders and miners gave way to farmers and ranchers.  The Modoc adapted and chose to live peacefully with their white newcomers, often working for them and trading for necessities.  The Modoc took on many of the settler’s ways, and eventually began to wear clothing patterned after the non-Indians with whom they socialized.  Even the names of the Modoc changed, and they became known to their own people by the names given to them by the white man.

This peaceful co-existence did not last, and a series of skirmishes erupted over the next decades, ending with the Valentine’s Day Treaty of 1864.  The various tribes agreed to live in peace and friendship with one another and the settlers in the region and the Modoc were not restricted to a reservation and could live within their homelands.  Unfortunately, the Valentine’s Day Treaty was not accepted by the US or even considered.  After more years of abuse, Captain Jack led an 18-month uprising pitting 60 Modoc against over 1,000 soldiers supported by artillery.  Captain Jack was hung for his participation in the uprising and became the only Native leader executed by Military Commission for participation in the US Indian wars.  On October 12, 1873, 155 Modoc (42 men, 59 women, and 54 children) were loaded on 27 wagons and taken to Fort Klamath, Oregon, then placed under military guard in Cheyenne, Wyoming, on the way to their eventual unknown destination on the Quapaw Agency, Indian Territory (Oklahoma).

In 1879, the government constructed a building on the Modoc Reservation that served as both a school and church.  The first marked grave in the Modoc Cemetery is inscribed as Rosie Jack (died April 1874).  Rosie was the daughter of Captain Jack and his wife Lizzie.  Many of the leading participants of the Modoc War are buried in the cemetery in unmarked graves.  The Modoc and Klamath tribes were terminated from federal supervision in 1954.  Years later the tribes in the northeastern corner of Oklahoma banded together to establish the Inter-Tribal Council, Inc. of Northeastern Oklahoma, and the Modoc formed a non-federally recognized tribal government.  The Modoc Tribe in Oklahoma were granted federal recognition in May 1978, making the Modoc eligible for Federal assistance.  An application was forwarded to the Department of Housing and Urban Development to purchase the Modoc Church and the four acres where it stands and to restore the church to its original structure.  The grant was awarded, and the Modoc church was listed on the National Register of historic Places in 1980.

Thoughts:  There are 496 enrolled members of the Modoc Tribe residing in 27 states, with around 200 living on a small reservation in Ottawa County, Oklahoma.  This includes the 600-acres of the Modoc bison range.  The range hosts about 200 bison purchased as wild from the National Park Service.  The animals are grass fed and raised in a natural pasture similar to their wild environment.  Bison is known for its nutrient-dense protein and can be purchased through the Modoc Administrative Office.  The Modoc have again adapted, creating a thriving business selling bison they never hunted to those who originally drove them from their ancestral home.  Do the work.  Change is coming and it starts with you.


January 19, 2022

This morning I came across a news article from CNN posted yesterday relating to the revisioning of eight artifacts found at the Maikop kurgan, a prehistoric burial mound in the northern Caucasus in Russia.  The mound was excavated in the summer of 1897 by archaeologist Nikolai Veselovsky, a professor at St. Petersburg University.  Veselovsky found graves of three people within the mound belonging to elite members of Bronze Age society.  Along with hundreds of special artifacts, Veselovsky discovered a set of eight gold and silver tubes at the right hand of the skeleton.  Veselovsky assumed they were decorative scepters and that the perforations at the tip of each tube were used to attach ornaments or horsehair.  New evidence suggests the mysterious scepters could be giant drinking straws used to consume mass quantities of beer.

Over the last century, researchers have debated the purpose of the tubes.  One suggested the tubes were part of the structure for a folding canopy used during the funeral procession for the person in the burial.  Another thought they may be symbolic rods representing arrow shafts, given that arrowheads were recovered from the mound.  Viktor Trifonov, an archaeologist from the Russian Academy of Science’s Institute for the History of Material Culture, poked holes in the previous theories because those objects would have required solid metal pieces rather than hollow tubes.  “A turning point was the discovery of the barley starch granules in the residue from the inner surface of one of the straws.  This provided direct material evidence of the tubes from the Maikop kurgan being used for drinking.”

Each of the 5,000-year-old Maikop straws measure about 3.6 feet (1.1 meters) long, and researchers believe they were used to drink beer from communal vessels.  Four of the straws were decorated with bull figurines, and all eight include punctured metal pieces to filter out impurities in the beer.  The oldest evidence of straws being used to drink beer is depicted in art from Iran and Iraq dated to the fifth and fourth millenniums BCE, showing people using straws to drink from a communal vessel.  Using long straws to drink beer together was common for the later Sumerians from the third millennium BCE.  The Maikop straws looked remarkably similar when compared with the Sumerian depictions of straws, including the metal strainers.  The grave also contained one of the beer vessels used with the straws that was so large it would have enabled each of the eight drinkers to down seven pints a beer each.  Obviously, evidence of a Maikop keg party.

Thoughts:  One of my Old-World Archaeology professors specialized in Mesopotamia’s Sumerian period until the Iranian Revolution in 1979 closed the country to foreign archaeologists.  He told a story of the archeologists finding a recipe for beer among the cuneiform tablets.  Being the wags they were, they followed the recipe and fermented their own beer.  The result was not very good, and the unfiltered mash made it difficult to drink.  That must be why they drank using straws.  The Maikop straws came from a site that is hundreds of miles away from where straws were used in Mesopotamia, suggesting the use of straws spread between regions.  Globalization is not as new as we have been led to believe, it just used to take longer to spread.  We are all the same human species.  Do the work.  Follow the science.  Change is coming and it starts with you.


January 18, 2022

Our yoyo weather continued today as temps rose to the mid-60’sF (18C) after dropping into the low 30’sF (0C) and snow over the weekend.  I had an early Zoom call for work but after lunch my seclusion got the better of me and I decided it was time to test the fishing waters again.  I dropped my recycling at the center that was closed yesterday and then loaded my fishing gear into the back seat.  One more stop to drop the donations at Goodwill and then I went to the lake to test my luck.  When I checked my app, I saw the trout have not been stocked since earlier this month.  I have mentioned they do not last long with all the anglers vying for them.  I was optimistic and figured there were a multiplicity of fish stocked in the lake.  Even if the trout were gone, I could still catch a bluegill or catfish.

Multiplicity is a 1996 American science fiction comedy film starring Michael Keaton and Andie MacDowell.  The point is a man being able to duplicate himself by machine, but each duplicate developed a different unique personality.  Despite the $45 million budget, the film received mixed reviews and only grossed a worldwide total of $21 million at the box office.  The plot has Doug Kinney (Michael Keaton) working in construction in Los Angeles and his job is constantly getting in the way of his family.  Doug meets a friendly scientist who has successfully developed a method for cloning humans.  Doug is cloned to take over the work and allow Doug to spend time with his family.  Ultimately three clones are made, and it becomes increasingly hard for Doug to hide his multiplicity.  The scheme falls apart and after order is restored the clones take off to Florida where they open a Pizza Parlor poising as triplets.  While the initial outcome of the multiplicity caused havoc, the clones reworked the outcome, so it was good for all four.

While I was not able to clone myself, I did use a multiplicity of ways to try and catch fish.  I fly fished for trout but there were none to been found.  I put out my bobber for bluegill or catfish, but they had escaped into deeper water.  At least I was vindicated as the man who arrived along with me did not catch fish either.  I noticed a few birds soaring above and since I had brought my camera, I was able to get photos of the seagulls and vultures.  I just needed to reinvent how and what I was doing to get a positive result.

Thoughts:  One of the great things about both fishing and birding is you get to enjoy nature while you do them.  If my goal had been to catch trout, or even fish, I would have failed.  Instead, my goal was to enjoy fishing which I did.  Since I brought my camera, it opened another opportunity and I added two birds to my annual list.  Even if I had not seen new birds, I was still outside enjoying the day which was my real goal.  Over the last several years I have noticed more people focusing on a specific outcome for events, and then denying the results if they are not what was desired.  When we approach life in its multiplicity, we can find positive results regardless of the outcome.  This does not mean lowering your expectations but finding joy and worth in the events themselves.  You can always learn from unexpected outcomes and work for different results next time.  Do the work.  Follow the science.  Change is coming and it starts with you.


January 17, 2022

I mentioned last week how I get into cleaning mode when Melissa goes on a trip and then tend to use reverse prioritizing to decide the order to complete my tasks.  While I generally find this effective, it did not work as well this weekend.  Part of the problem was I needed Melissa’s input.  Melissa is like me when it comes to cleaning, “if you clean you can do it however you want.”  I knew that was not the case with her succulents.  While I felt comfortable moving pots to different locations, I knew most of the trays of plants were where they were for specific reasons.  I intended to paint the wall behind a stack of pots and then set up another shelf I had brought back from Kansas, but that meant moving plants.  I reached my mystical halfway point where I turn to the important tasks when I realized the signs were against me.  The second shelf was not going to happen.

Another problem I ran into was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  I woke today fully intending to take a load of clothes and miscellany to the Good Will and loaded them in the back of the car.  I try to limit the number of trips I make and concentrate several tasks each time I venture out.  That way I can focus my time and not worry about having to be out of the house every day.  Part of my organizing had been breaking down boxes and sorting through old electronic equipment.  Our recycling center is one of the few I have found which accepts old electronics.  I packed the car with cardboard, threw in the plastic bottles, and stuffed the electronics in the back seat.  Driving to the center it hit me, this was MLK Day.  Not surprisingly, the signs said the center was closed.

My organizing weekend turned out like most of the time.  I started with a big push, had a day where I ignored everything, and then closed with a rush to beat Melissa’s return home.  We always try and keep each other informed of progress when we are traveling.  It not only allows us to live vicariously through the traveler, but it also lets the other know if something goes wrong.  The snowstorms combined with the airline sickouts to cause both flights and airports to close.  That meant there were a lot of irate travelers.  TSA had posted signs at the checkpoints and the ticket counters stating if you were aggressive or hit someone, you would receive a lifetime ban from flying the airline.  As tempers rose the agents quelled several disputes by pointing at the signs.

Thoughts:   Melissa told me that as she approached her (different) departure gate, there was a man on the floor being treated for head injuries from a fight.  When her group was later getting off the plane another fight broke out between two football fans from opposing teams.  Both the injured man and the two fans were being “assisted” by the police.  Apparently, none of these people had bothered to read the signs.  Signs are placed to direct people to either follow the law or to avoid causing accidents.  When we disregard the signs, it can lead to a lifetime ban.  Ignoring or disregarding the safety signs for covid puts everyone in jeopardy.  Follow the science.  Change is coming and it starts with you.