Monthly Archives: January 2013

Thoughts on Death

charles-addams-now-play-dead

Nobody had more fun with death that Charles Addams

People stopped dying many years ago. Instead of dying, they passed away, then they passed on. Today, they merely pass.

People don’t like the idea of death. Many Christians look at death as the consequence of sin, and see their revulsion in both emotional and spiritual terms. Jesus himself was offended by death. When he entered the tomb of Lazarus in order to raise him from the dead, he reacted strongly to the presence of death. On the night before He died, he prayed that He be spared the suffering and death that awaited him.

Christians generally believe that there is a better existence in the next life than in this one. Many other faiths have similar beliefs, but most everyone believes that getting there is not half the fun. We seem to expect that it’s like birth – a bit of a chore.

Back when people died, they often died at home surrounded by family. Now they pass in the hospital surrounded by machines that make funny noises.

Back when they still died, the deceased was cleaned up, placed in a casket, and placed in the parlor.

Having grandpa’s body downstairs was the social norm but still kind of weird.  Morticians began to offer “funeral parlors” and the deceased was viewed there. Because of the previous macabre connotation, the “parlor” was renamed as the “living room.”

I noticed that many mortuaries now advertise “funeral apartments.”

I have to wonder if they expect a security deposit and references.

At least they don’t advertise “funeral condominiums.” Heaven only knows what restrictions the condo association would impose.

So we relabel, market, advertise, glamorize and use all our other skills to disguise the fact that people die. Some people convince themselves that they won’t die by cryogenically freezing their bodies in the belief that someday someone somehow will find the cure for what killed them and bring them back.

Even with Universal Healthcare, bringing back someone who died two hundred years ago is not going to be a priority.  Bottom line is that they’re just as dead – they’re just frozen spending a couple hundred years as a corpse-sicle.

Let’s just admit it, we’re all going to die.

When I’m dead and gone, you’re going to admit that I was right.

W8A

 

duck“Hi, I’m Steve and I bought Windows 8.”

Hi, Steve

“I admit it. I fell for the hype. It wasn’t the touch screen, or the applications. I believed the stories that it was more stable and faster than Windows 7.”

How many copies of Windows 8 did you get?

“Well, my daughter’s computer was new enough that when we upgraded hers to Windows 8 it only cost $14.99.”

So only one copy? Come on, you can tell us.

“She seemed to like it, so I installed it on three other computers”

So you inflicted Windows 8 on four innocent computers?

“They had this great price! It was new technology!”

What happened next?

“Some of my hardware wasn’t compatible with Windows 8. Some of my programs wouldn’t work. I had to uninstall it from one computer.”

And did that work?

“{Sob} I couldn’t find the Vista reinstallation disk, so I had to go back to Windows XP! {Sob}”

And the other computers?

“I have to uninstall Windows 8 and reinstall Windows 7 on one computer. One is sort of kind of working.  My daughter won’t speak to me!  I don’t know if it’s because of her computer or just one of her mood swings!”

Well, don’t worry, you’re among friends. We’ll help you get through this.

“Thank you. I really needed that.”

Now let’s talk with this nice couple over here. Please introduce yourselves.

“Hi, I’m Bill, and this is my Melinda. We didn’t buy Windows 8 – the company I used to, uh, work for, sent us copies for free.”

Hi, Bill and Melinda.

The Picture of Progress

 

Photographer-studio-1893

Ah, the conveniences that we’ve come to know and love.

The vacuum cleaner revolutionized housekeeping. Instead having tea while the hired housekeeper cleaned her house, women bought (or better yet, received as gifts) electric appliances that not only picked up some of the dirt from the floor but also made a lot of noise, scared the dog and created interference on the radio or television. To top it all off, the housewife got to take the contents of her modern vacuum cleaner out to the trash, creating a cloud highly reminiscent of the dustbowl of the 1930s.

Such progress.

(Don’t worry, this is the article on photographs I promised yesterday. Really)

Another area ripe for technological improvement was the family photo album.

In the days of film, you carefully composed your picture, checked the lighting, and took a snapshot. We were all very conservative because film, processing and flashbulbs were all consumable and wasting pictures could be costly. It was common for a roll of film with 12 exposures to be developed and printed starting with Christmas pictures, beach pictures, Halloween pictures and end up with the following Christmas’ pictures.

When we got the printed photographs, we discarded those that were out-of-focus, included grimaces or closed eyes and kept only the good ones. Ideally, those that passed muster would be safely mounted in an photo album, and tucked away where they would be safe, but easy to retrieve.

The early technological improvements were actually helpful. Color replaced black and white, and albums with plastic pages worked better than gluing four little corners for each photo. Lulled into a sense of complacency, we had no clue as to where photography was going.

The real change came with digital cameras. No waiting for the corner drugstore to process the pictures. No buying film, You could store and sort the pictures easily on your computer. You could crop, fix redeye, adjust the color and make small or large prints. Wow! Is this great or what?

Definitely, “or what.”

A hard drive failure could destroy every picture you ever took, and sometimes the pictures would be saved in some obscure location in a sub folder of a sub directory under a file name you would NEVER expect. The convenient digital picture you wanted would take hours to find.

I bought my wife a new digital photo frame and we decided we’d go through all the digital photos and figure out which ones to include. I retrieved the backup DVDs on which I had backed up all the photos.

THREE INCHES of DVDs, going back to my first digital photos taken in 2000.

Do you know how many photographs you can store on that many DVDs?

A lot.

Technology strikes again.

So if I don’t write a blog for the next 6 or 8 months, don’t worry. I’m just sorting digital pictures.

Louis’ Help+-9-+-+5698

I waaas trying to write a blog about pictures

3+32663*.s

(I’ll try that topic again tomorrow)SONY DSC

However, as I tried to write, Louis, our dog, wants me to toss his ball for him. ( That’s pronounced LOOwee in proper Cajun fashion, in case you’re wondering.)

0 2-1 +la+r6ge6r +

He keeps dropping the ball on my keyboard, to get my attention, but simultaneously leading

+g+-T+

to interesting effects. Since –he+’s +most insistent, I’m going to go and throw the ball with him.

+ + +6S45

See you tomorrow.8.9+

Taylor Swifties

Taylor-Swift-Cover

They say that familiarity breeds contempt. Taylor Swift has had a meteoric rise in her career and we’ve seen her picture on the cover of almost every magazine, with the possible exception of “Popular Mechanics”. Now the media is pouncing on every freckle and flaw, as they usually do.

I am not interested in pillorying Taylor Swift.

However.

Every twenty years or so, people resurrect sayings that emulate quotes from the Tom Swift stories dating back to 1910 written under the nom de plume of Victor Appleton. “Tom Swifties” are quotes such as, “I like modern art,” said Tom abstractly.

It seems only fair that this time around we update it as “Taylor Swifties,” especially since more people know Taylor Swift than Tom Swift.

“My guitar string broke,” Taylor twanged.

“We’re never, ever, getting back together,” said Taylor, finally.

“The stage needs to be brighter,” Taylor offered lightly.

“Michael J. who?” asked Taylor, foxily.

“I think I’ll buy a pet bird,” Taylor said cagily.

“We could go camping,” Taylor suggested tentatively.

“I think I’ll dump my boyfriend,” Taylor said with abandon.

“The thunderstorm makes the radio crackle,” Taylor shouted ecstatically.

“I can’t wait to get out of this stage costume and into some jeans,” mentioned Taylor casually.

I guess I need to bring this blog to an end – swiftly.

Blogging is Different

Blogging is different from many other technological applications. It’s meant to be shared.

It’s kind of like how music used to be.

Most of today’s marvels act to separate and isolate us.

iphone-how-to-curious-focused-texting-cell-phone

Sitting at the table at the restaurant texting someone who is somewhere else (ignoring the people around them, as well.)

Playing Angry Birds on my iPod, iPad, iPhone, or iWant to be alone.

Listening to music, all by myself with my earbuds blocking out everything and everybody.

Driving with 90% of my concentration devoted to the cell phone. (I wonder when some people die, if the mortician will have trouble releasing their arm from the cellphone-to-the-ear pose. Maybe they’ll just make specially shaped caskets…)

On the other hand, blogs allow us to communicate across both time and space.

To share ideas.

To share a joke and laugh together.

Thanks for letting me share.

Hand Me That Tool!

 

Richard Karn & Tim Allen"Home Improvement"

Richard Karn & Tim Allen
“Home Improvement”

I like tools, particularly exotic tools.

Take a stapler – pretty ordinary; but a pneumatic stapler – now that’s something. You’ve got an air compressor, complete with its rhythmic vibrations, 10 to 20 feet of hose and a gun that can drive staples through the thickest folded upholstery securely into the wood on the bottom of the chair. Instead of hours per chair, 15 minutes tops; in a couple of hours you’ve revitalized those kitchen chairs that have each absorbed a gallon and a half of spilled milk as well as things you don’t even want to imagine.

I like the self-adjusting wrenches or the ones that have a built in ratchet for tight spots. However, the name is all wrong. Wrench is what you do to your shoulder when using a bad tool. A high tech answer to tightening nuts and bolts ought to have a better name – like “Threaded Fastener Adjuster.” Better yet, “Precision Threaded Fastener Adjuster.”

Of course you need a set of Threaded Fastener Adjusters for the complete range for both English and metric of sizes. However, that’s nothing compared to the other tool for the OTHER threaded fasteners. That calls for the screwdriver.

It used to be that a screw had a slot in the top into which you placed the tool and tightened it. Then that clown, “Philip” (named for St. Philip, the patron saint of hardware store owners) invented his screw pattern. Eventually we got used to that, so the Allen wrench was born (named for St. Allen, the patron saint of hardware wholesalers) with his hex shaped fasteners. Then came star shaped fittings, Torx, Tri-wing, Torq-set, Triple Square and Polydrive. (Really, those are all actual types of screw heads.)

If I ever invent a screwdriver pattern, I’m going to name it “Kripez ®” as in “Cripes! Now I need to run to the hardware store and buy more tools!”

By the way, it shouldn’t be called a screwdriver unless it’s electric. The manual version requires the human to do all the driving, so at best it should be called a “screwstick.”

Then there’s everyone’s favorite tool – the hammer.

We used to call it GM’s law – “Don’t force it, get a bigger hammer.” Great advice. However, the name could use a little tweaking.

I suggest changing it to “Whammer.” This name is far more descriptive and much more relevant for the whammer’s wide range of uses.

Lance Armstrong

The Lance Armstrong confession has resulted in some interesting reactions, “The New York Times” had perhaps the funniest:

“…Armstrong did indeed admit he used performance-enhancing drugs. (In other news: the world is round.)”
tour-de-france

But among the more interesting responses have been those who are now questioning the wisdom of placing athletes or other celebrities in the role of “heroes” and therefore role models.

Do we really want our kids emulating someone whose claim to fame is his ability to ride a bike or chase a ball? Do we want our kids to think that it’s normal to be incredibly wealthy, have a throng of hangers-on, be treated “special” by the courts and then be finished with your career in your thirties?

Vince Lombardi is known for saying, “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing!” Actually, he “borrowed” that phrase from UCLA Bruins football coach Henry Russell (“Red”) Sanders. I guess that alone is enough to prove that some people will beg, borrow, steal, or inject in order to win.

I’d rather my kids see heroes as the people who go to work every day, not for fame and fortune but because it’s the right thing to do. Parents who attend the school concert, the sporting event and who help (to the degree they can) with the school projects. People who give God his due. People who repeatedly fall madly in love with their spouse.

Celebrities live in a different world – make that a different universe – from the rest of us. They have their place. We enjoy them because they make us laugh, they make us cry. They make us cheer. They make us wish they could have heard the advice we shouted to the television before they messed up that last play. (Auugghhhh! Fumble!)

Most of our kids will never live in the celebrities universe, and even if they do, sooner or later (probably sooner) they’ll re-enter the normal universe, and hopefully find themselves willing to go to work every day, be attentive to their kids, know God, and appreciate their spouse.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

mlk

As with most historical figures, as time passes, our recollection of The Reverend Doctor King changes. It’s sometimes hard to believe that so few years ago we had legally enforced segregation. That the Pentagon had separate bathrooms for blacks and whites because of Virginia law. That Norfolk shut down its public school system rather than integrate. That Rosa Parks was arrested for keeping her seat on a public bus.

Dr. King brought these ugly facts to the forefront, but did so in a way that made it impossible to ignore.

We all think of ourselves as the “good guys” and prior to the 1960s, equality was not something we wanted to think about. Whites weren’t biased, it’s just that blacks and whites were seen as different, or so we wanted to believe.

It’s true, blacks and whites are different. Not because of being black or white, but because each of us is an individual and every individual is different. It took us a long time to figure this out.

Today we look around and congratulate ourselves on making a lot of progress. We have a black president starting his second term. Neighborhoods are integrated. Mixed families are becoming more common.

However, making progress is different from reaching a goal.

It’s because Columbus found land in the New World that he’s renowned, not because he set sail. Armstrong wasn’t the first astronaut to head to the moon, he was the first to actually get there. Progress is good, but it’s only a step in the right direction.

We’re making progress, but we need to continue.

Today we may see Dr. King as an icon – an ideal. Like Washington, Lincoln, and so many others, in life he was not a marble statue but just another individual. The difference is that people like Washington, Lincoln, and King took on the challenges, took the heat, and told us what we needed to hear, whether we wanted to hear it or not. King was a man, not an icon, but that’s what makes what he did so monumental. He stood up when others feared to.

Celebrate tomorrow as a day that marks one more step forward for humanity.

Kids

After yesterday’s post…

My son was playing football at a friend’s house, got clunked in the head and his vision got blurry, so we spent the evening in the Emergency Department.

Everything checked out okay.

However, I’m not focused on blogging, today, for some reason.

Hope to write something tomorrow.

Why Have Kids?

SONY DSC

The other day my younger son asked me why I decided to have kids.

Tough question.

Once upon a time kids were an economic benefit. Kids, especially boys, provided a work force for the farm or the herd. Why pay for workers when you can just make them?

However, once we left the farm and moved to modern cities and suburbs, economically that advantage disappeared.

So why DID I decide to have kids?

Actually, when I was younger, I was scared that I’d have a handicapped child. My oldest, in fact, is profoundly handicapped. Interestingly, just before she was born I finished my 24 months in Radiologic Technology, and was trained and more importantly mentally prepared for many of the things that her care would require. Especially the yucky stuff.

Funny how that worked out – you’d think some higher power was involved.

My older son was in high school and I was raising him as a single parent when I met my wife. I thought that my daddy days were coming to a close. Instead we married and decided to have a family.

Funny how THAT worked out – you’d think some higher power was involved.

Which got me thinking – the reason my wife and I decided to have kids was because we wanted to share. Share what we had, but more importantly to share our love.

I guess that desire to share is why God decided to make us – for someone to share with. He set the example for us to follow.

And that’s why we had kids.

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Sometimes some old event will just pop into my mind for no apparent reason. Today it was about weird words.

Katie-028

My daughter used to refer to “Last morning.” Makes sense since we do speak of “last night.” She also referred to the meal for today’s morning as “breafkast.” That makes perfect sense to me, at least until I’ve had my first cup of coffee.

One time, my younger son, when told to behave, tried very hard to comply. After a while he came up to my wife and asked, “Am I being haved?”

dsc_107

Of course as a toddler, Buzz Lightyear was one of his absolute favorite toys. If you don’t recall Buzz, he was the spaceman in “Toy Story,” and was known for his motto – “To infinity! And Beyond!” Buzz had a laser built into his space suit so that if he pressed a button on his arm, a laser (actually a little red light) would shine. When Mom would impose a decision (something horrible, like “Pick up your toys!”) Adam would point one arm at her and press the imaginary button that would activate the laser to show his displeasure.

Although my memory isn’t what it once was, I do still remember a few things from my own childhood. I think it was my childhood – could have been “Leave It to Beaver” or “The Donna Reed Show.” In any case, when I was in first or second grade and learning to spell, I had spelling drills. My mother would read the word and I’d attempt to spell it. My little brother decided he’d spell, too, and decided that “water” was spelled “E-O.”

One day when my mother was scrubbing the floor, he asked what was in the bucket and she told him it was water. He tried several times to say the word “water”, but without success. Suddenly his face brightened, he pointed to the bucket and confidently proclaimed, “E-O!”

But of course I had my own thing about words even back then. One Friday I asked my mother what was for dinner and she told me “Macaroni and Cheese.” This was not acceptable. I explained to her that I didn’t want to know what it was made from, I wanted to know what it was called. She answered again, “Macaroni and Cheese.” I started to get frustrated because either she didn’t understand my question or was deliberately playing with me. Finally, in desperation, she made up a name.

“Hosselfock!” she answered (accent on the first syllable and go downhill from there.)

From that point on, it had a name.

Counterfeit

atom

You really have to be careful about counterfeit products these days. Naturally such big ticket items as Rolex watches and Coach Handbags have been targeted for many years. But today, cheap knockoffs are made to look like the elite brands at all product levels.

In some cases, the knockoffs are forgeries. In other cases, the con artists try to make just enough of a distinction to have semi-plausible deniability.

This morning I opened up the after shave that my wife had given me for Christmas- my usual brand. When I splashed some on, the smell was not at all what I expected.

I looked at the green bottle. Instead of “Polo” it said “Pollo.”

So all day long I had to listen to people say that I smell like a chicken burrito.

Results May Vary

How do they get those guys who give all the “fine print” information at the end of commercials? You know – side effects of drugs, terms and conditions on cars. With the economy as it is, I’d expect that most auctioneers are already busy, so are they tapping into some other group of fast talkers, or just speeding up the playback?

Which got me thinking – can you imagine the help wanted ads for some of the more unusual occupations that we deal with every day? Besides the fine print speed-talkers, there might be:

Linen artist: Must be able to design and implement fancy napkin folds as well as cute washcloth animals for our hotel chain. Please submit photos of your current work and ideas for future trends to the Hotel and Convention Bureau.

Software legal terms lawyer: Since no one reads the legal gobbledygook when installing software, we are looking for lawyers and paralegals who can build in all kinds of strange terms and conditions. Please respond to Nigerian Prince @ scam-me.com.

Modern Lexicographer Wanted – Dude, like we need an expert to help determine, like, which new buzzwords are thug enough to be included in, you know, mainstream media. Text to #Hipster_HipHop

And on a different, but obliquely connected issue…

When they list all the side effects of drugs, why are they always bad?

“May cause nausea, baldness, occasional death, social embarrassment and the desire to chase garage sales.”

Why do they never say, “May cause sudden improvement in appearance, increase in IQ, and congenial personality”?

I’ll bet if they did, they wouldn’t say it so fast.

Bathroom Humor

No, not that kind – just thoughts about the modern bathroom.

Restroom-01

It’s interesting that public restrooms, the term that is often used to describe grossness, have gone high tech while the home bathroom is essentially unchanged.

First, the mix of toilet types in public restrooms. Some flush themselves. Some don’t need flushing. Some are still the do-it-yourself. And I’m not counting the ones that are out of order.

A mom with a young daughter told me about the trauma of her toddler using the restroom. Because she was so small, the sensor would “see” her then not “see” her and repeatedly flush – a sensation the young lady found most disconcerting. Probably put her potty training progress back at least 6 months.

Some bathrooms have automatic sinks. Others have automatic soap dispensers and most have automatic towel dispensers, but there seems to be no logic behind the selection. You almost think the plumbers are having fun at our expense.

If you really want to make me happy, how about an automatic door opener so I’d be spared the need to touch the door handle just used by the people who don’t wash their hands.

While I dislike traditional blow driers, I must admit I do like the new ones with 150 mile per hour blowers – of WARM air. They actually work (without the need to use my pants as a towel) and it’s fun just to watch the skin on my hands ripple in the Jetstream. But then I am easily amused.

Maybe that’s why home bathrooms haven’t changed. After being confused as to which fixture is automatic and which one is manual, it’s kind of reassuring to go home and not have to figure out how to use the bathroom.

The Advance of Technology

 

Edison

1963: “Teacher, how does a light bulb work?”

What an excellent topic for Science class today. Several inventors had built light bulbs, but they didn’t last very long. Thomas Alva Edison figured out how to make the first practical light bulb after years of research. He was a prolific inventor with over 1,000 patents including how to record sound and motion pictures.

For the light bulb he figured out that he’d need a filament – that is something that glows – and it needed to be in a vacuum so it wouldn’t just burn up. A glass bulb would maintain a vacuum and let the light shine through, but the filament was a problem. He tried all types of exotic metals, including silver, gold and platinum, but eventually settles on carbon. One story is that he carbonized a piece of cotton thread for the filament.

Today we use tungsten for the filament, but the rest of the design hasn’t changed much. They’re reliable – in fact there are several bulbs that were installed at the beginning of the twentieth century that are still burning today.

2003: “Teacher, how does a one of those curly light bulbs work?”

Well, let’s Google that. Hmmm, it was invented back in 1976 by George Hammer who worked for GE , but they didn’t want to spend the money to manufacture them. Eventually, the Chinese started making them.

They use less electricity than incandescent bulbs but the light is kind of funny colored. They’re supposed to last for five years, but around my house they seem to last about half as long as the old style light bulbs they replace.

They’ve got mercury in them, which is a hazardous material. The expression “As mad as a hatter” referred to the fact that hat makers used mercury and as they absorbed it through their skin, they exhibited erratic behavior, so if you break one, you have a problem.

There’s a phosphor inside that glows. That’s about the best I can do to explain it.

2013: “Teacher, how do light emitting diode – LED light bulbs work?”

Ooops, we’re out of time for science. Put your science books away and get out your social studies books so we can learn all about how Congress gets things done.

Conspiracy du Jour

Stephen M. Katz | The Virginian-Pilot

Stephen M. Katz | The Virginian-Pilot

I am not one to jump to conclusions. For example, I don’t believe that Elvis and Jimmy Hoffa were taken by aliens or that the automakers can make a car get hundreds of miles to the gallon but refuse to employ the technology. Everyone knows that it’s Big Oil that has destroyed those secrets.

Dave Austin fans will be relieved to know that I don’t believe that pigs live in trees, and I think Rover is just a faithful puppy sitting by the doggie door.

However…

There have been odd happenings, some very close to home.

First, Old Dominion University here in Norfolk, VA has a lion as its logo and mascot. A resident in the area near Old Dominion called 911 and reported that a lion was loose in her neighborhood. Old Dominion officials checked to see if one of their lions had escaped, but all were accounted for. Come to find out, it was a dog – a labradoodle – with a weird haircut. (Virginian-Pilot Story here)

Add to that the fact that in Virginia Beach, while its owner was gone another dog managed to turn on the stove, setting fire to the house.

It just so happens that these – and other strange events have occurred right when the asteroid Apophis passed by earth. This so called “Doomsday Asteroid” may someday smash into the earth ending life as we know it, or at least becoming “Breaking News” on cable news.

Dogs impersonating other species? Dogs operating major appliances? A killer asteroid passes near earth? Coincidence? I don’t think so.

If you’re not convinced, add this fact. As I write this, the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) – a trade exhibit of the latest in gadgets is being held in Las Vegas. It’s a geek and engineer event. So?

Today ABC News ran a story today with the headline “Snooki Brings Her Style to CES”.

Gravity Wells

 

I find that there are days during which I seem to disrupt the force of gravity in my immediate vicinity. Although I could afford to lose a few pounds, I don’t believe that I approach the amount of mass to exert such force.

Nevertheless, at times I open the closet or pantry door and things spontaneously begin to fall. Cans and boxes of food drop. Tools jump off my workbench. Papers fly off my desk. I was beginning to get some type of deep emotional complex with the associated scars.

However, I am an avid reader.

Lately, I’ve been reading how astronomers and physicists have been making all kinds of exciting discoveries about black holes.

Then it hit me.

I must be generating my own singularity – my very own, personal black hole.

It explains a lot.

The only problem is that now I’ve discovered this, everyone is going to want their own black holes.

Then I won’t be special any more.

It’s easier to pick things up off the floor and put them back on the shelf when you believe it’s because you’re special.

Oh, well.

EsrevinU

My life is fairly typical. I go to work. I come home.

On weekends I putter around the house.

A ten minute repair job can take me an hour because I spend at least 50 minutes looking for my tools.

I’ve gotten to the point that I freely buy one more pair of pliers, one more screwdriver, or whatever. My friends tell me how their kids borrow their tools and eventually they find a rusted mass of metal that is vaguely pliers shape out in the yard.

Not me.

My tools just disappear for long periods of time then magically re-appear.

Go figure.

uni

Flashlights are even worse. I think my son uses them to find his cat, who likes to play hide-and-seek with him by hiding under my bed. In any case, flashlight after flashlight disappears.

One day my wife suggested that there was a parallel universe and between myself and my alternative counterpart, we had to share things. She indicated it made sense because socks followed the same pattern. They’d disappear in the drier. Weeks later they’d show up. Of course I thought she was crazy.

I stopped at Wally-World and bought a handful of additional flashlights. One by one they began to disappear. I told my wife I was going to use my label maker and mark them with “This is Dad’s flashlight! Do not touch under penalty of death!”

They all disappeared.

This morning there was a flashlight on my nightstand. The side was marked with a label that said, “!htaed fo yltanep rednu hcuot ton oD !thgilhsalf s’daD si sihT”

I thought about it all day.

When I got home, I opened a bottle of wine and brought 2 glasses into the family room. I poured a glass for my wife and said, “Please, tell me about this parallel universe idea of yours.”

A Sunnier Outlook

December 21st, the Winter Solstice is behind us, that means that every day we have a little more daylight.

NASA Photo

NASA Photo

As we head toward the cold, wintry months of January, February and early March, it’s reassuring that every day is just a little brighter. It makes the cold easier to tolerate.

Life is kind of like that. When we face the coldest times, there’s always something to remind us that it is getting better.