Category Archives: Education

Peanut Butter

Plain Old Peanut Butter

Plain Old Peanut Butter

The standard for the entire universe is peanut butter and jelly.

Not for me.

I have always preferred peanut butter and honey.

Why? Because jelly isn’t in the Bible but honey is.

Okay, I’m kidding.

Jelly, to me, in regard to peanut butter is the same as fish to meat. Some people like Surf’n’Turf (even myself at times), but although the dish and the meat may share the same plate, they are DIFFERENT! The broccoli over at the untouched edge of the plate, same thing.

Honey enhances the flavor of peanut butter without replacing it. Jelly, in my humble opinion, tries to stake out its own claim and force out its rivals, including peanut butter.

So, in the intergalactic scheme of things, what does this mean? Why honey? Why peanut butter? Why jelly—and can jam be used as a substitute when times are rough?

Not so much. So in the giant intergalactic connectivity equation this means………………

Absolutely nothing.

So, there.

Faith vs. Fact

I have no problem with the issue of faith—as a matter of fact, I have relied on faith to get me through the tough parts of life. However, faith is based on my relationship God.

On the other hand, with most other issues, I need to know HOW something works—that pi is just a ratio between the circumference of a circle and its radius. I need to know how margins of error are calculated and what they really mean in the world of statistics.

Today, though, there are many people who accept on faith that cell phones work and always will; that the electric power, cable television, and the internet will be there with the flick of a switch, but they have no idea how they work, nor do they care.

However, when it comes to God, they demand proof that He exists.

Weird.

If There’s No Breaking News—We’ll Break Something!

Courtesy, National Geographic  (Consider joining--http://www.nationalgeographic.com/about/)

Courtesy, National Geographic
(Consider joining–http://www.nationalgeographic.com/about/)

Squeezed in somewhere among the celebrity gossip and pinup pictures, occasionally the Internet carries items that journalists once referred to as News.

News includes such boring items as wars, disasters, election results, and rarely mention the reaction from starlets, transgender humans or trans-species….whatever. In the days of journalism, the reporter listed the facts:

  1. This is what happened (not my impression of what happened).
  2. Where and when it happened.
  3. Why is this significant? (Not guaranteed to be 100% factual, but true journalists tried to be as objective as possible).

“News” today is often predictive—this COULD happen, or the media focuses on something that probably will happen, but it could be tomorrow, or it could be in 30 billion years (give or take).

[Note: I like the fact that what was once the press is now the media. It’s like admitting they only rank a grade of “C” for their work.]

Today CNN ran a story on the super-volcano that someday could, maybe erupt (or it could keep releasing pressure through Old Faithful and the other geysers like that weight on the top of a pressure cooker).

But the best thing is—they’re now adding music to news stories, and a pretty zippy bongo number (doubtlessly electronically generated) at that. Try http://www.cnn.com/videos/weather/2015/04/24/supervolcano-yellowstone-magma-reservoir-orig.cnn?iid=ob_article_footer_expansion&iref=obnetwork

What’s next for the news mesia—laugh tracks?

Community Service

Socrates Courtesy Wikimedia

Socrates
Courtesy Wikimedia

Yesterday, the American Diabetic Association’s Tour de Cure bicycle race was held in our area. This is a fundraiser for diabetes research and rides can choose a ten-mile, thirty-mile, sixty-five mile, or one-hundred mile course, with people donating to support their efforts. Local ham radio operators provide communications from each of the seven rest stops with the race coordinators at the start/finish lines. When I lived in Wyoming, the local hams provided similar service during Frontier Days.

Some people enjoy providing service to their friends and neighbors; some belong to an organization that encourages (and if necessary shames) its members into serving the community. Churches often provide the tipping point for people who wouldn’t go out on their own. Many high schools require a certain amount of community service in order to graduate. I believe that organizations provide the social network and support to help those who are comfortable being part of a group, but are not comfortable acting as an individual. Members of the Local Club (whatever it is) are more likely to adopt a road and clean it than the same people as individuals.

I know every generation worries about the state of their children. Supposedly, Plato credited Socrates with the following quotation:

The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they allow disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children now are tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.

However, in Socrates’s time young men and women couldn’t cocoon in their bedrooms with smartphones and video games.

What’s Wrong with Nursery Rhymes!

Would you let your child hang around this woman?

Would you let your child hang around this woman?

For centuries we’ve taught our children nursery rhymes, and then wonder why they grow up so maladjusted.

“Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard to get her poor dog a bone…” Why would she store a bone in the cupboard? If she had a bone left over from a meal, given that there were no refrigerators, it would make better sense to just give it to the dog at the meal. Besides, a bone is more entertainment than actual nutrition.

“Jack be nimble. Jack be quick. Jack jump over the candlestick.” There’s the poster boy for national fire prevention week. On the other hand, we get our panties in a wad over the idea of our children running with scissors—but jumping over candles is just fine.

“Jack Spratt could eat no fat; his wife could eat no lean.” Where does Michelle Obama and the food pyramid stand on this one? Where are the vegetables and the fiber?

“Hey diddle, diddle, the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumped over the moon,” but then we wonder why some kids stray into drugs.

Rare Artisans

quill-pen

I refer to myself as “esoteric.” You might prefer to say that I’m “odd” or “different.” I’m okay with that.

Being esoteric, I sometimes find that I need the skills of certain specialists. While many guitarists have their instruments repaired or tweaked, I give credit where due and refer to Doug, who takes care of my instruments as a luthier—the appropriate name for an artisan skilled in making or repairing stringed instruments.

I write with a fountain pen, and have a collection of six through which I rotate. The oldest of my pens, going back about thirty years, has traveled with me everywhere, including through Afghanistan and Iraq. Unfortunately, after returning home, it fell and landed right on the nib—the part that carries the ink to the paper. The manufacturer couldn’t repair it, but under their lifetime warranty, replaced it. Since the original had sentimental value they returned it as well. The replacement was very nice, wrote very well, but was, well, a replacement. Even worse, a stapler fell off the top of the desk, landed on the pen, resulting in a huge dent. The manufacturer repaired it, but it, unfortunately, looked like a badly dented replacement pen that had been repaired.

I found an interesting site online—Pentiques.com—and decided to try them out. They have since repaired both of these pens, the original and the replacement. The original looks and writes better than it did the day I bought it. Wow!

Artisans such as Aaron and Kim Svabik at Pentiques are few and far between, but if you find one, take advantage of the skill, the precision, and the unique capabilities that they offer.

 

Pentiques.com
PO Box 7361
Goodyear, AZ 85338
Aaron@Pentiques.com

We Are Oh, So Smart!

Blood_letting.1

We twenty-first century humans are the pinnacle of humanity in so many ways. We can kill one another with great efficiency AND effectiveness. We can blather to the entire world about absolutely nothing, thanks to smart phones and social media (excuse me while I shoot a selfie).

No one in history was as great, and wonderful (and, might I add, humble) as us. We are the undisputed technological winners.

Well, mostly.

There is that thing about Damascus Steel that the ancients could do with sword blades that we have never duplicated. Imagine what amazing Ginsu knives could be made of that! Or weapons for Seals and Delta Force! Or surgical scalpels and medical implants!

We’re proud about our computers and claim them as our own, but then there’s that mechanical computer from the first century found in a shipwreck by Greek sponge divers. Some say that if it had not been lost, civilization would have advanced so that space exploration would have begun centuries earlier.

And now we find that the bacteria that can whup our best antibiotics (with one pseudopod tied behind its back), Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) can be controlled by a concoction from the tenth century. An eye salve, found in Bald’s Leechbook, made from fermented, garlic, cow bile, and wine appears to be effective against the disease in several trials. “Leechbook” because the barabarian healers still believed in bloodletting—yet the barbarians got this one figured out better than we did. (Oddly, my insurance provider doesn’t have it in their pharmaceutical formulary, so if I need it, I have to pay for it out of pocket.)

If we truly are smart, we’ll honor those who came before, and figured out some things that demand our respect.