To quote the Byrds, “I’m lazing on a sunny afternoon,” so I’m taking the easy way out and linking to someone else’s post.

Here’s a laugh for those of you who like sarcasm.

Teddie (Cruz) and Me.

Coefficient of Friction

Every day–or at least many days–I try to write a blog, but current events dissuade me. I confess, I automatically select Netflix when I turn on the television, even though if my granddaughters have been here, I’m immediately exposed to ICarly. (I never knew that any children’s television program could induce urticaria, borborygmi, and myclonus. Mighty Mouse never did.)

Current events, especially in Washington, DC, are so–so–so, you know. It makes it difficult to write anything that doesn’t sound desperate. I’ve got two dozen blogs I started but I haven’t finished, because of that.

So why today’s title? It should be obvious: Friction force develops between contacting surfaces of two bodies and acts to resist relative motion between the bodies. The friction force, F, is proportional to the normal force, N, and the coefficient of friction, μ.

Still not tracking?

Okay. Whenever I have an idea for a blog and then become exposed to current events, the idea either slips away on its own, or else I push it out of the way. There is not enough friction to keep it in one place.

It’s pathetic, I know, but this is the world in which we live.

Post COVID-19 Economics 2021

Pandemics have had an interesting impact on economics throughout history. While most “experts” predict doom and gloom, there is another possibility. Depending upon your economic status, it may be bad or not.

Many times when a plague hit, predictably it was the poor who bore the brunt of it, with many dying. The Black Plague, for example, has been estimated to kill one-third of Europe’s population.

When the plague abated and businesses tried to recover, the decimation of the lower class meant that there were fewer laborers available. Although many could return to their old jobs at their old wages, other businesses, desperate for workers, offered significantly higher wages to lure them away from their old employer. In some cases, they were offered two to three times as much as they had earned in the past.

The wealthy found some of these changes alarming. In the words of an anonymous English chronicler: “Such a shortage of labourers ensued that the humble turned up their noses at employment, and could scarcely be persuaded to serve the eminent for triple wages.”

The response from the wealthy was predictable. In one case, “the wealthy lobbied the English crown to pass the Ordinance of Labourers, which informed workers that they were ‘obliged to accept the employment offered‘” for the same measly wages as before.’ This was largely ignored, of course. It would require a violent suppression to force compliance. Over the years, some societies did just that.

In the meantime, landlords were facing an oversupply of real estate and a shortage of potential tenants. Prices were lowered, and the lucky elites managed to survive on their wealth rather than relying on their income. It is debated, bot possible, that these events created the middle class.

We can only wait to see if the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic has such an effect. I suspect that will be a while, since the unvaccinated provide a breeding ground for the virus to mutate. When this occurs, the original and the weaker variants are stopped while the stronger survive and will likely be harder to combat.

Many of the ideas and the quotes in this blog are based upon the writings of Walter Scheidel, Professor of Classics and History at Stanford University, and the author of The Great Leveler: Violence And The History Of Inequality From The Stone Age To The Twenty-First Century.

Don’t Worry

Don’t worry, those trillions of cicadas are going to pop out of the ground and make a thunderous nose any second now.

The Samaritan

I have been seeing news articles about people who stepped into an emergency situation and rendered assistance. The headlines describe them as Samaritans, referring to the story in the New Testament of the Good Samaritan. Luke relates the parable Jesus told in which a man had been beaten, stripped and left for dead. A priest and a Levite passed him by while a Samaritan treated his wounds and took him to an inn and paid for his care.

There are several important issues that are not obvious as to the significance of the Good Samaritan. Over 500 years earlier, Samaria had become the capital of the Northern Kingdom when Israel was split. The Assyrians conquered the Northern Kingdom first, removed many of the Israelites and largely repopulated the area with Gentiles. The Israelis in the Northern Kingdom intermarried and adopted many of the ways of the Gentiles, including their religious practices.

Some years later, the Southern Kingdom was also conquered by the Assyrians, and its people carried off, but 70 years after being conquered, a contingent of 43,000 Jews were allowed to return. These people had maintained their commitment to God, whom they worshiped in captivity and whom they continued to worship when they returned to their homeland. They hated the Samaritans because the Samaritans had chosen to view the Gentile idols as either co-equal with God, or as replacing him.

Jews had nothing to do with Samaritans. Hence the “Good Samaritan” would have been seen as a contradiction of terms during Jesus’ time.

The other significant detail is that the priest and Levite passed the injured man without aiding him. This was not merely hubris. Priests and Levites served in the temple, but anyone who touched a dead or dying person, would be ritually unclean. This meant they could not enter the temple until they had been ritually cleansed, which took seven days.

We don’t know the thoughts of the hypothetical priest and the Levite, but it is not unlikely that Jesus’ listeners would see them as choosing their duty to God over their duty to mankind.

The story of the Good Samaritan was a parable–a story–intended to teach. It was not a historical fact, so if it was intended to teach, it’s good to uncover the hidden wisdom as well as that which is obvious.

Will (Covid) Wonder (Cure)s Never Cease?

Just when you thought it was almost safe to return to normal. Many people, or at least those that don’t believe that the vaccines are poisonous or contain microchips, have been vaccinated. More people vaccinated means we’re closer to herd immunity. (Have you heard about immunity? No I mean herd immunity. Etc.)

Many times I’ve thought of devious ways to get rich, but usually as the plot for a story. Other people are more direct and actually reap the benefits (if they can be called that). Recently, a Florida family was busted for–ready for this–selling 28,000 bottles of “Miracle Mineral Solution” to treat virtually every known disease, which was actually bleach. [Link]

Okay, fair is fair, it wasn’t the off-the-shelf bleach we use in the laundry. I was closer to the type of bleach they use for industrial water treatment. But, hey, it was handmade in their very own backyard shed. I assume the chlorine dioxide solution, was manufactured under strict quality control and sterile conditions. My hat’s off to them–it’s hard to maintain such high standards in a backyard shed.

They marketed their miracle solution through a non-religious church. I’m still trying to figure that part out. In any case, they took in more than $1 million from sales of the stuff.

Drinking bleach to cure COVID and other diseases. You have to wonder where they got that idea.

Shhh! They’re Listening!

Blogging is the only social media in which I engage. Why? As far as I can tell, neither Mark Zuckerberg nor Jeff Bezos follow my blog.

I’m sure that they’re fine people who would be interesting neighbors. Imagine a neighborhood block party with Bezos showing up in an Amazon truck loaded with goodies for everyone. Heck, he might even do a Blue Origin spaceship flyby for entertainment.

On the other hand, it’s creepy knowing that their companies seem to watch every single thing we do. If they made a movie about their data gathering, it could be called, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and Last Week, and Last Night When You Closed the Blinds and Turned Off the Lights in Your Bedroom. It’s, like I said, creepy.

I don’t have any big secrets. The biggest secrets I have are the ones I keep from myself, like, “Where did I leave my car keys?” or “Why did I just walk into this room?” Nevertheless, if someday I did have a secret (like suddenly realizing that I was wearing one black sock and one Navy blue one), I don’t want Jeff and Mark blabbing it all over the internet.

The best way I can explain my aversion is to compare social media sites to the 81 year-old Homeowners’ Association President named Karen. She’s constantly peering through her window on the lookout for serious violations of the deed restrictions and covenants–things like having the wrong color curtains or a non-standard garbage can. She never sleeps, lest a violation occur, strapping on her night-vision goggles promptly at sunset to make sure standards are maintained under any circumstances.

It makes you wonder what juicy tidbits Jeff and Mark know about HER?

Another Side of History

The Road to Freedom Tour Guide App

Today’s blog is inspired by The Virginian Pilot, April 18, 2021. “New Virginia Travel Map and App Offer a Tour into the Black Experience During the Civil War Era,” by Denise M. Watson

Virginia has a lot of history tied to the Civil War and has faced harsh and not unwarranted criticism over monuments to those honoring the Confederacy. The state of Virginia, along with Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia have had “Civil War Trails” for many years. They make for an interesting trip that I recommend, even if you make a side trip to a few sites while traveling through the area.

We all know (or most of us, at least) that there are at least two sides to every story. Those in the South who subscribe to the theory of The Lost Cause are only comfortable with the honoring of those who wore the Confederate uniform. There needs to be a counterpoint to the tales of Lee, Jackson, Pickett.

Over the last few years, the Civil War Trail has added sites that are significant to African American History. Eighty-eight sites are highlighted as “The Road to Freedom” tour, which you can access as a phone app, online app, or printed map. The timing is coincidental with current events but is nevertheless long over due. The African American side of the story is a more compelling, if not yet polished, story than the one that reflects the traditional White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant viewpoint.

A small example–Mary Peake taught enslaved people in violation of the laws of the time. One place she taught was under a large oak tree, under which she read the Emancipation Proclamation. The tree, known for many years as the Emancipation Oak is still alive and at the entrance to what it is now Hampton University. You have the chance to stand under that very tree, but probably never heard about it before.

At Fort Monroe, another site where Mary Peake taught, enslaved people sought freedom. General Benjamin Butler made a decision. We do not know if it was shrewd or just dumb luck. Southerners demanded their “property” be returned. He decided that if slaves were property, they were contraband and would not be returned. This started the first of many freedmen’s camps.

Although it’s not (yet) on the Road to Freedom Trail, there is a cemetery near my home, which is identified as “Unknown and Known Afro-Union Soldiers*.” Not quite the cachet that accompanies most military sited. Although overlooked for many years, these men were veterans, having worn the cloth of our country. They went into harm’s way, with the risk of death–either in battle or if they were captured.

Unknown & Known Afro-Union Civil War Soldiers Memorial Grave Site with American Flags

There’s more to history than what you were taught in high school. Check out

We Interrupt Breaking News for the Cicadapocolypse

Yes, I believe that the media–in its quest to sell more advertising–deals in sensationalism. Really! Yes, I do!

With a slight cooling in politics, there’s no way that what’s happening in Washington, DC will interest people enough to actually ask their doctor about the latest drug being pushed by Big Pharma. Do the people with the most disposable income really care about the latest coupling-decoupling of twenty-something celebrities?

Does anyone really care about which celebrity came out as gay or bi or whatever? If they’re a good actor or a good musician, people are more interested in what they do on the stage or in the studio rather than in the bedroom.

But there is ONE story that has been repeated in news cycle after news cycle:

  • The Cicada Invasion is coming!
  • Soon, there will be Cicadas everywhere!
  • There are going to be Cicadas all over the place!
  • Get ready for the Cicadas!
  • Look out! A Cicada invasion is on the way!
  • Get ready for the Cicadapocolypse?
Look out! A cicada invasion is on the way! | Local News ...

When Cicadas emerge, they mate, lay eggs, and die. They can’t eat–they lack a mouth, The large quantity of their eggs may cause a twig to fall, but that’s about the most damage they can cause. Like politicians, they are noisy. Unlike politicians, they are essentially harmless.

120 – 140 – 150 – 200 – Bye

I’ve honestly been trying to write, but there’s so much going on that just drives me crazy and physically affects me, that I haven’t completed a blog in a while. Sorry. The spirit is willing, but my flesh is 70 years old.

I purchased one of those wrist blood pressure cuffs and wear it while I write. It’s distracting and awkward, but nevertheless helpful. As Bettlegeuse says, “Besides, this whole dead thing-it’s creepy!”

While I’m writing, I keep one eye on the meter, but since it’s on the inside of my wrist, I have to stop typing and roll my arm, to see it. Then it deflates. For the next reading, it has to reinflate and we go through the whole cycle again. To top it off, it never gives me a reading exactly when I want one.

So I do the best I can do. So here goes!

I’ve been watching the news about the Chauvin trial, Representative Gaetz, and the Trump Organization . . . .


Bluestone Automatic Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor ...

Oops. I gotta quit. Sorry.

A Nickel’s Worth of Free Business Advice*

Businesses today have some practices that make me scratch my head.

Let’s start with pharmaceuticals. When a drug’s patent allows for generics to be manufactured and sold, chemists try to reverse engineer the name-brand drug. They then try to formulate a generic drug that is sorta kinda like the original. They then test the drug for safety using young, healthy individuals.

But who will actually need the product? Old people with chronic illnesses. Unless the young test participants start dropping like flies, the generic drug is presumed safe for the intended customers. If it doesn’t work for older patients . . . . well, that’s the way it goes.

Incidentally, who can afford name-brand drugs once there’s a generic available? I’m not sure, but you could probably fit them all into a single phone booth–if we still had phone booths.

On a similar note, I bought a new alarm clock. My adult children don’t use alarm clocks–they use their cell phones. They don’t wear wristwatches because they use their cell phones. They don’t use Daytimers because–you know where I’m going with this.

On the other hand, I use my cell phone to make telephone calls, text messages, and to check the Internet. I know, it’s weird, but it’s common among those of us who are old enough to no longer worry about having a date for Saturday night.

Since I don’t use my cellphone as a clock, I need a clock-clock to wake me up in the morning.

The clock I picked out has a number of nice features. It sets the time automatically using WWVB signals from the National Bureau of Standards in Fort Collins, Colorado. I can place my cell phone, which I don’t use as an alarm clock, on the top to charge it. The display is muted but visible.

However, there are a few steps to set it up for the first time. There is an instruction booklet that came with the clock. There are just two problems:

  • The directions are written in that ubiquitous hybrid of Chinese and English that is a bit confusing for those of us who grew up with English as a primary language.
  • The directions are also printed in a teeny-tiny font for which I need both reading glasses and a Super Trouper theatrical spotlight to see.

The free advice? Think about who will use your product when you manufacture and package it.

*With apologies to Back to the Future‘s Mr. Strickland.

It’s Up to YOU!

Donald Trump asked his supporters to help him pay for an election recount. Unbeknown to many who donated, the form had a box pre-checked for the donation to be repeated.

Matt Gaetz has been accused of possible improprieties with an underage girl. He’s asking his supporters to send money to pay for his defense.

I confess. I, too, have transgressions and need your help.

I’m mortified, but it’s true.

In third grade the dog didn’t eat my geography project. Actually, the dog had died earlier that year and we had not yet picked a replacement, so there wasn’t a dog even remotely available, much yet involved. I made it all up because I had totally forgotten that the project had been assigned three weeks earlier, but it’s not my fault. What third grade boy can remember anything for three weeks?

Therefore, I’m asking everyone to fund my therapy to help me move on. I’ve been carrying this guilt around with me for over 60 years, so the psychological damage to my self image is immense.

Please leave your donation in a brown paper bag in non-sequentially numbered small denomination bills on my front porch.

Remember when you had to sell band candy or girl scout cookies? You asked everybody you knew to help out. Now’s the time to go and ask them again. My therapist says I need to go to the Bebe Rebozo Clinic in Bimini for extended therapy.

It’s YOUR responsibility–don’t let me down.

Picture Imperfect

I’ve commented before on the internet and how people today can be devastated if they don’t meet the standards of physical perfection that they see posted by others, especially celebrities.

I was right—it’s all phony. The supposedly ultra-attractive celebrities don’t look good enough, either.

Note this article by Mark Gray:

Kardashians threaten legal action over unedited bikini pic of Khloe: Report [1]

What could this image possibly show to create such an uproar? Was she committing a felony? Maybe she’s a werewolf and was in the midst of changing. Maybe she’s a he (well it does run in the family). I’ll let the author of the article explain:    

“The Kardashian family reportedly called in their lawyers after a private photo of Khloe Kardashian started floating around the Internet over the weekend. Soon, the photo began disappearing from the web and social media.

“The image, supposedly posted to Khloe’s grandmother’s Instagram, showed the reality TV star in an animal-print bikini. Gone, however, was the heavy editing and filters that the Kardashians are believed to often use before posting photos of themselves to social media.

“Page Six reported that the Kardashian family threatened legal action if the image wasn’t taken down. “

So, even the infamous Khardashians are not picture perfect without computerized magic—and this is after a professional makeup artist and a lighting expert had already done their thing to make her look as good as possible.


Holy Thursday

I may not express my thoughts today very well–they’re beyond my ability to understand or describe.

Holy Thursday, when Jesus shared supper with His apostles. Jesus asked Peter, James, and John to pray with him, but Jesus ended up praying alone. Judas betrayed Jesus. His friends were not there when He needed them.

Some prefer to call today Maundy Thursday, which refers to Jesus’ washing the apostles’ feet and the Gospel according to John focuses on this rather than Jesus’ blessing of the bread and wine. It was a monumental expression of love. No one, not even a slave, could be compelled to wash anothers’ feet, yet Jesus did–showing humility even though He was the very Son of God.

I have to love and identify with good old Peter. He first refused to let Jesus wash his feet, but when Jesus’ explained its importance, asked to be washed all over. Jesus had to explain why that was not necessary or appropriate. Peter, the bull in the china shop, echoes my shortcomings and inspires me to have faith. His clumsiness was always due to his overwhelming love for Jesus.

This day reminds us that we do not and cannot understand the mind of God. Knowing that God is inexplicable is comforting to me. My God is the one, living, and true God–incomprehensible and more powerful than I could ever imagine and so loving that He sent His only begotten Son for me and you.

Scriptural Thoughts

Bizarro - Buddha and Jesus | History cartoon, Art history ...

Telling others what scripture means is a great way to start an argument. Nevertheless, it’s been debated since time immemorial and I’m going to keep the discussion going by adding my own thoughts. First, know that I see scripture–the Bible–as the way to go to Heaven, not how the Heavens go.

Over the years, I’ve read and studied various interpretations or versions of the Bible; I focus on what the message is, not on memorizing chapter and verse, particularly since the numbering varies a bit from version to version.

Some things to think about:

  • Jesus was Jewish.
  • Jesus’ skin was probably dark–like most who live in the Levant.
  • Jesus’ did not have blonde hair and blue eyes.
  • Jesus did not speak in Olde English. He never addressed people as “thee” or “thou” nor did he say “giveth or taketh away.”
  • Jesus probably spoke Aramaic with possibly some Greek or Latin.

The Bible has been through a number of Euro-Asian languages before it came to us, with each interpretation adding the potential for confusion. Not only has interpretation from one language to another caused problems. All languages change over time and English is no exception.

Perhaps the best example of the confusion of scriptural interpretation I can offer is Matthew 19:14 (yes, I had to look up the chapter and verse), But Jesus said, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

As a youngster, I was horrified with this. I knew that Jesus would not want children to suffer, but there it was in black and white. Now, of course, As an adult, I know that Jesus’ comment was for the benefit of the disciples, telling them to not stop the children. He didn’t want the children to suffer, he wanted them close to Him.

Just something to think about during Holy Week and Passover.

Revenge on the Young!

Just a quick note today.

If your kids sit glued to the television, for hours, watching shows in which the kids are talented, smart, and very attractive and adults are dimwitted dolts, take hope.

Disney, among others who churn out these shows expect to keep running and rerunning these for years, if not eons. (Don’t believe me? How long ago was Gilligan’s Island filmed?)

Sooner or later, our kids will not be able to avoid these shows after they become adults and see themselves portrayed as dimwitted.

Even better, the child actors who starred in these will have to watch their past selves.


Today’s kerfuffle concerns Vice President Harris’s failure to return the salute of the Marines as she boarded Air Force Two. There’s a reason for that, she’s not in the chain of command. Not only is she not required to salute, but by the letter of the law, she is not entitled to salute.

Ronald Reagan started the Presidential saluting tradition. The President is the Commander-In-Chief of the US Military because the military is subordinate to civilian leadership. The President is a civilian, but he is in–and at the top of–the chain of command. The Vice-President, on the other hand, is not in any way in the chain of command.

Saluting has an interesting history. It is believed that it was originally to indicate that the person saluting was no threat. Some believe it was to show an open hand without a weapon, while others believe it was to raise the visor on a knight’s helmet, making the knight’s identity known. It probably has elements of each.

My experience is with the Navy, which has had a few different rules than the other branches, so others may have slightly different experiences. Some of these practices may have changed. Nevertheless, a salute is a gesture shared among those members of the military who are in good standing. If a Sailor is arrested and is a prisoner held in the brig, they are not permitted to salute because they are not in good standing. Enlisted or junior officers salute officers senior to them, but they are honoring the rank, not the individual. (Just for fun, enlisted members have been known to space themselves out when they see an officer so the officer has to return a salute to each of them, rather than a single salute.)

The Navy traditionally only salutes when covered (wearing a uniform hat). They remove their cover indoors, so while other branches salute indoors, the tradition was that Sailors did not. When the others saluted indoors, a Sailor would remain at attention until the salutes were rendered and returned.

Until about ten years ago, one did not salute unless in uniform. At that time, for morning or evening colors (raising the flag in the morning and lowering it in the evening), service members and veterans were permitted to salute even if not in uniform. You may see some veterans on television salute during the National Anthem.

One final bit of Navy saluting trivia–Sailors are permitted to salute with the left hand, “if the right hand is occupied.” In practical terms, this is usually limited to a boatswain mate who is piping an event with his right hand. They then salute with the left.

So, the vice-president did not salute the Marines or return their salutes. She’s not supposed to and she doesn’t.

You Get Over Here Right Now!

I know many politicians are old white guys.

I suspect that most of their mothers are dead and not just because of their advanced age.


If I were a politician and I said the things that they do, my mother would be on me like spit on a dogbone. I’d hear my name being called–formal first name, full middle name, and last name–a dead giveaway that I was in deep trouble. She would then proceed to tell me how disappointed she was with what I had said and done, how I let her down, how I let my father down, my school, etc. (It would be a long list, including people and organizations I had never heard of before.)

Then she’d let me have it with a verbal barrage that only mothers can unleash.

In the afterlife, I suspect that many mothers will be waiting for their politician sons. The politicians won’t even get near St. Peter until their mothers are finished with them. Talk about an eternity! I won’t guess where their souls end up.

That, of course, assumes they have souls.


Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1939) - The Movie Crash Course

It’s very easy to unintentionally overdose on the news. Like the drinking water in Flint, Michigan, it seems innocuous, but it c an be deadly. Too often, my best efforts to steer clear are thwarted because the news is ubiquitous although most of what it contains is either sensational or useless. For example, most cable news sources include endless celebrity coverage interspersed with the latest buffoonery from our elected officials.

Likewise, Real Buffoons of Washington, DC, a reality television show, drives me up the wall. Politicians redefine their “facts” as often as I change socks–and yes I change them daily. Yesterday’s up is down today. Although someone may have a video of one of them saying the sky is blue, they swear they’ve always described it as pink.

Filibuster is a word that gets bandied about freely. I know that it is a mechanism for the minority in the Senate to block the majority from successfully advancing a cause. In my opinion (for what that’s worth) I can’t see the filibuster as consistent with the goals of a democratic republic.

On the other hand, filibuster is a strange word and I wondered where the word came from. Was it like gerrymander, a term that grew out of and is strictly relevant to politics? It turns out that filibuster is every bit as interesting as you might expect. Merriam-Webster offers the following:

Definition of filibuster

1 : an irregular military adventurer specifically : an American engaged in fomenting insurrections in Latin America in the mid-19th century

2 : [filibuster entry 2] a : the use of extreme dilatory (see dilatory sense 1) tactics (as by making long speeches) in an attempt to delay or prevent action especially in a legislative assembly
b : an instance of this practice The filibuster delayed the voting on the bill for over a week.

History and Etymology for filibuster

Noun and Verb

Spanish filibustero, literally, freebooter

I admit, I had no idea as to what a freebooter was, so as long as I was in the dictionary, I decided to look it up, too.

Definition of freebooter

: pirate, plunderer

Filibuster refers to an insurrectionist or a pirate? Really! How interesting.

Just to clarify, we’re not talking a Disney pirate like Jack Sparrow. We’re talking ruthless people who would hunt down a ship and take its valuables, possibly including the ship itself. People like Captain Kidd, Calico Jack, and Blackbeard, not to mention those who attack ships, such as the Maersk Alabama, in modern times.

Filibuster provides an interesting etymology, if not an accidental truth.

Start Your Own Business!

Have you ever wanted to start your own business and make a ton of money? I know how!

I probably should make this one of those Have your credit card ready! deals, but, hey, we’re all friends, right?

The quickest way to start a business and get rich is to start an insurance company.

You’ve probably noticed that in addition to AllState, State Farm, and The Crimson Permanent Assurance, every day it seems like another insurance company is bombarding us with ads. There are so many that they’ve run out of good names. There’s the General, Elephant, and Lemonade. Lemonade? What kind of names are those for insurance companies?

The motto, “You’re in good hands,” has given way to an Emu, Flo and friends, and who knows what else–although I confess, I did like the cavemen.

If you add in the thousands of automobile extended warranty companies, it’s possible that YOU are the only person on the planet that does not have their own insurance company.