Lighter than Air

Every year I set a goal to read one book a week. I missed the goal in 2022 by one book. Convinced that this year will be different I am reading voraciously. The latest novel is by author Ariel Lawhon and titled “Flight of Dreams.” Although it is fiction it has a historical theme. The fiction aspect contains two separate love stories, a mystery, and much social dialog. The history part comes from the fact that the entire story takes place aboard the last flight of the Hindenburg. Only a few references are made about these huge, lighter than air, ships being used in World War 1, in moving mail, and passengers.

The early part of the story reminded me of a cross country train trip I took on a train. Descriptions of the life in a restricted environment, and the ensuing boredom mixing with the excitement of a adventurous journey stirred my recollections. The author used a tactic that made the reading easier for me. She broke the story up by writing from the point of view of the characters. She begins new segments about a character with the title of the character, such as Cabin Boy, Navigator, Stewardess, Chef, Journalist, American, etc. Since I have trouble remembering characters in any story I read, this tactic helped me establish a connection sooner, and it was more burned into my brain.

The flight from Germany to New Jersey lasted three days and eight hours. This gave the author lots of time to tell the story of over ninety passengers and crew. Of course, she concentrated the narrative on only a select few passengers in order to get the reader into the story. Throughout the tale we know all along how this story ends, the Hindenburg blows up as it is landing. The author periodically gives us a check-point by reminding us how many hours and minutes remain until the “explosion.” What this did for me was to establish a giant curiosity about how the story ends. Would my favorite character be one of those who perish? Would the love interests perish together? Would the American accomplish his goal to revenge his brother’s death in WW I?

I felt that Ariel Lawhon did an amazing job of story telling by turning her story from a slow beginning into a frantically paced thriller in the final pages. Her story left me sad, and happy as I learned which characters survived, and which perished. I learned just enough history in this read to make me want to know more about this form of airship travel.

PSA-221228-40 More Bits of Wisdom

Numbers 19 and 20 scare the heck out of me.

SO YOU THINK YOU KNOW EVERYTHING???

  1. A dime has 118 ridges around the edge.

2. A cat has 32 muscles in each ear.

3. A crocodile cannot stick out its tongue.

4. A dragonfly has a life span of 24 hours.

5. A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds.

6. A “jiffy” is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second.

7. A shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes.

8. A snail can sleep for three years.

9. Al Capone’s business card said he was a used furniture dealer.

10. All 50 states are listed across the top of the Lincoln Memorial on the back 

of the $5 bill.

11. Almonds are a member of the peach family.

12. An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain.

13. Babies are born without kneecaps. They don’t appear until the child reaches 2 

to 6 years of age.

14. Butterflies taste with their feet.

15. Cats have over one hundred vocal sounds. Dogs only have about 10.

16. “Dreamt” is the only English word that ends in the letters “mt”.

17. February 1865   is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon.

18. In the last 4,000 years, no new animals have been domesticated.

19. If the population of China walked  past you, in single file, the line would 

never end because of the rate of reproduction.

20. If you are an average American, in your whole life, you will spend an average

of 6 months waiting at red lights.

21. It’s impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.

22. Leonardo Da Vinci invented the scissors.

23. Maine is the only state whose name is just one syllable.

24. No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver, or purple.

25. Our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our nose and ears 

never stop growing.

26. Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite   .

27. Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated.

28. “Stewardesses” is the longest word typed with only the left hand 

and “lollipop” with your right.

29. The average person’s left hand does 56% of the typing.

30. The cruise liner,  QE2, moves only six inches for each gallon of diesel that

it burns.

31. The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube and a chocolate bar melted in his pocket.

32. The sentence:  “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” uses every 

letter of the alphabet.

33. The winter of 1932 was so cold that Niagara Falls froze completely solid.

34. The words ‘racecar,’ ‘kayak’ and ‘level’ are the same whether they are read 

left to right or right to left (palindromes).

35. There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar.

36. There are more chickens than people in the world.

37. There are only four words in the English language which end in “dous”: tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous   .

38. There are two words in the English language that have all five vowels in order: “abstemious” and “facetious.”

39. There’s no Betty Rubble in the Flintstones Chewables Vitamins.

40. Tigers have striped skin, not just striped fur.

41. TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters only 

on one row of the keyboard.

42. Winston Churchill was born in a ladies’ room during a dance.

43. Women blink nearly twice as much as men.

44. Your stomach has to produce a new layer of mucus every two weeks;

otherwise it will digest itself.

There,   now   you know just about everything

It Finally Happened

For the past fifty or more years I have been working with woodworking machines. One thing I have learned is that kick-back on a table saw can be serious. For fifty years I have taken extreme care to set up my cuts so the possibility of a kick back was minimized. Today, I experienced a serious kick-back. A small piece of wood caught the spinning blade and shot back at me like a bullet. Ouch that hurt! It happened as fast as a bullet too. There was no time to react. In fact I didn’t realize the kick-back until the piece hit my arm at the inner elbow. I thank God that it didn’t hit me in the head. I would have dropped like a rock.

Insurance companies are always citing that accidents will happen, and show the probability. It is not that you will never have an accident, no matter how careful you are, it is only a matter of when it will happen.

In my case this happened because I was too comfortable with the cut I was making. The piece I wanted to end up with was small, and I thought the time it would take to jig it to reduce the possibility was not worth the effort. I know now that I was wrong. If the piece is small the possibility of a serious kick back is as great as working with a large piece. Small pieces get sucked into the spinning blade and are shot back with tremendous velocity.

Today, I learned a valuable lesson. Slow down and take every cut as if it is the one than will kill you.

Accident Statistics

A National Consumer League (NCL) fact sheet reports even more disturbing numbers, “an estimated 33,400 individuals required emergency department treatment to address injuries caused by table saws. Of these 30,800 (92 percent) were related to the victim making contact with the saw blade.” (2)

NCL goes on to explain, “More than 4,000 of these injuries require amputations – an average of 11 per day.” (3)

A survey conducted by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported the estimated total of table/bench saws related injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms for a two-year period was 79,500. This total represents 78% of the estimated total stationary saw injuries of 101,900. The numbers are based upon National Electronic Injury Surveillance System data. (4)

Rob the Poor to Enrich the Rich

Back when I was a kid I heard a story about a band of robbers who lived in a place called Sherwood Forest. The uniqueness of this band is that they didn’t rob to enrich themselves, and they didn’t rob from their fellow man. By now you know I am speaking of Robin Hood who became famous for robbing the rich to give to the poor.

There are many variations of this story developed by imaginative authors, and Hollywood movie makers but the origins were as I described. The story emanated from folk ballads sung in the 1300-1400-‘s. No one is left to explain what the real story is, but it doesn’t matter. Robbing the rich to feed the poor has been a mythical storyline that resonates with most folks. Robbing the rich to feed the poor is also the platform for early democrat, liberal, progressive peoples who need a way to make a living.

Fast forward to 2023. In today’s world I can relate Robin Hood to the Democrat party, and the Rich to the Republicans. Aside from the fact that in the year 1400 there were no defined political parties and the king owned everything. In today’s scenario the whole Rob the Rich to Feed the Poor philosophy has shifted. Currently the theme is to “rob the poor and enrich the rich.”

I experienced the phenomenon first hand again this afternoon as Lovely and I went shopping for sustenance. We came home with a small basketful of groceries and a bill for $204.67. Thank you Joe Biden from Sherwood Forest and your band of progressive bandits. I am waiting to see the account of how you have helped the poor with this massive spending. Instead I can see the effect on the rich who seem to be bubbling to the surface with government money intended to assist COVID strapped businesses. We also see how so many poor businesses, i.e the small guys who couldn’t make it have closed, gone forever.

I have consciously kept from speaking out against our current administration, but now I have experienced his Green New Deal reaching deep into my pockets. I will be vindicated someday, and my stance on the man-made global warming bullshit is just that, an excuse to steal from the poor to enrich the rich.

Truth be known, if every country in the world reduced it’s carbon emissions to below what they were a hundred years ago global warming might still take place. How will you bastards explain the hardship you put billions of people through to reach your taxing goal? The problem is that the poor people whom you so anxiously liberate from any riches will have evolved into the brow beaten zombies that you wish to rule. I predict a new generation of Robin Hoods will appear on the scene to start the cycle all over again. Instead of Kings there will be fat cats known as progressives who will crack the whip over your poor backs in the name of equality, and “you will love it.” Robin Hood will quickly gain steam from his exploits of robbing the fats cats to give back to the poor.

Reading vs Watching

Between watching movies on Netflix and reading books, time is limited. My goal is to read one book every week during the year. That means I must find something I like, and then read it within a week. I am a slow reader and my comprehension is lousy. Often times, I must take a rest and not even touch a book for a week or two. The worst thing is when I start reading a book that is too philosophical, or too wordy, and it takes me too long to finish. Most likely because I really don’t want to finish, but my tendency is to read each book from cover to cover, even if I think it is horse crap. My theory is that even those books which I rate poorly have been published because someone else thought it was good. Publisher’s don’t like to invest in books that don’t make money.

My kind of movie: The story is plausible, but I’m sure some of the scenes are contrived for effect, and not believable.

DOG

  • Stars: Channing Tatum.
  • Directed by: Reid Carolin, Channing Tatum.
  • Release date: Feb. 18.

Dog is a comedy road trip movie coming to theatres starring Channing Tatum as Army Ranger Briggs who is given the seemingly impossible task of transporting Lulu, an unruly Belgian Shepherd, down the Pacific Coast to attend its owner’s funeral. 

Watching movies is another matter. After supper every evening I look for an interesting movie to watch. There are days, when I spend thirty minutes scrolling through the movie menus trying to decipher whether I should waste my time watching, or not. One thing I like about Netflix is it’s ability to screen what I like to watch. The one thing I hate about Netflix is that it narrows the field of movies that interest me to a commonality that makes them all the same.

Netflix has targeted me with foreign films and they are the ones I watch most often because they tend to have better story lines. American films are too comic-book, crime related, shoot-em-up oriented, which turn me off. I love good stories, I even love bad stories. How often have you witnessed shootings and murder in your lifetime? Some of the films expect us to believe the impossible odds of the good guy escaping harm after being shot at by a dozen armor clothed goons spraying bullets with machine guns. Even more unbelievable is the good guy shooting his way out with one pistol and one clip of bullets. This is not realistic. That many bullets resembles war, but good guys get killed in wars. I’ll stick to the stories that involve real people and real life situations. Of course on the other side of the picture there is the Hallmark channel that shows only love stories with happy endings.

Last year I kept track of the movies I watched with my ratings. People were always asking me for the title of films that I thought were good. So, to accommodate them I noted each film on my phone. Unfortunately, I lost the file of over 500 film titles, and was really pissed for a few weeks. Now, I just watch the movies and don’t even try to remember the titles.