Archive for October, 2017

Happy Halloween 2017!

October 31, 2017

If 2016 can serve as an indicator of popularity, 2017 should be no exception (here are some fun facts from 2016).  Of course, for all of you who enjoy the occasional Halloween-themed movie (not all of these are “scary”), here is a list of movies you may wish to watch again (I should have thought to post this earlier in the month so that you could have watched one of them each day for the month of October, but alas . . . ).

My favorite is the original Halloween (1978) and they have a whole website dedicated to the fans of this movie (and its numerous sequels).

If you are brave enough to venture out tonight . . . be safe.


October 30, 2017

Teams_largeHappy Monday!  As we begin a new work week, what better time to reflect on our current “team” climate at our assorted places of employment?  And, what better tool than one of the latest demotivators (courtesy of www-dot-despair-dot-com) on the topic.  Yes, we’ve all been there, those team, or group projects, where not every member pulls their weight or contributes at the same level.  Yet another example of humor that hits a little too close to the truth of how life sometimes operates.

College Football 2017, Week Nine!

October 29, 2017

The Spartans had their chances to win this one in regulation (a fumble in the red zone and two missed field goals), but ultimately fell short in the third overtime on the road against the Wildcats of Northwestern.  And, while there continue to be four Big Ten teams in the AP top-25 (Penn State [#2], Wisconsin [#5], Ohio State [#6], and Michigan State [#16]), in light of this week’s match-up between Penn State and Ohio State (with Ohio State pulling out the victory) these rankings may shuffle a bit.  Next up for the Spartans: at home to take on the Nitanny Lions of Penn State.  Go Green!

The upsets this week included:
Penn State (#2) losing to Ohio State (#6) by one point.
TCU (#4) losing to Iowa State (#25) by seven (7) points.
Washington (#15) losing to unranked Arizona.
Michigan State (#16) losing to unranked Northwestern in triple overtime.
South Florida (#17) losing to unranked Houston by four (4) points.

The close calls this week (games that were won by a touchdown or less) included:
Miami (#8) defeating unranked North Carolina by five (5) points.
Stanford (#20) defeating unranked Oregon State by one (1) point.

Top-25 match-ups won by the higher-ranked team included:
Notre Dame (#9) defeating NC State (#14).
Oklahoma State (#11) defeating West Virginia (#22).

As We Continue to Age . . . !

October 28, 2017

Happy Saturday.  My apologies for the tardiness of this post (I probably should have shared this earlier in the school year).  Every year, Beloit College publishes a “mind-set list” which is intended to help faculty members understand the mind-set of the incoming freshman class, especially with regard to cultural references that older generations take for granted.  Here are a few examples:

This year’s freshmen . . .

  • represent the last class born in the 1900s (the very last Millenials)
  • have never used or heard the high pitched whine of a dial-up modem
  • by the time they entered school laptops were outselling desktops
  • have always been able to get green ketchup
  • have been able to find a blog on any subject
  • they are the first generation to grow up with Watson outperforming Sherlock

Check out this link for the full list.

This year a new list evolved (courtesy of Robert Scherrer) that provides a guide to what the “college years” looked like (mind-set) for the typical 50-something college professor.

Some examples from this list:

  • spell check was a dictionary
  • high-tech students owned an electric typewriter
  • if a student wasn’t in their room, you couldn’t reach them on the phone
  • a year at college cost less than a new car

Source: both lists were discovered on

Fun Fact Friday, Number Forty-Seven!

October 27, 2017

The category for today’s trivial imponderable is “physics.”  Do you know why a person would put a teaspoon in the neck of an opened bottle of champagne?

Contrary to any actual scientific or empirical evidence, people believe (erroneously) that this will help the champagne retain its carbonation.

Source: Sorry, Wrong Answer: Trivia Questions That Even Know-It-Alls Get Wrong, by Dr. Rod L. Evans.

A Mule is Born!

October 26, 2017

Today marks the day that the first mule was born in the United States (1785).

In addition, October 26th represents the day for several other “firsts,” such as the first . . .

  • Jewish weekly newspaper in English  (The Jew [monthly], New York, NY, 1849)
  • washing machine (Hamilton Erastus Smith, Philadelphia, PA, 1858)
  • steeplechase (American Jockey Club, Jerome Park, Westchester County, NY, 1869)
  • Army pilot to fly solo in an airplane (2nd Lieutenant Frederic Erastus Humphreys, College Park, MD, 1909)

Source: Famous First Facts, by Joseph Nathan Kane, Steven Anzovin, and Janet Podell

A Couple of Recommendations!

October 25, 2017

If you ever find yourself in the Eureka Springs area (northwestern Arkansas), there are several neat things to see and do.  Disclaimer: I certainly have not seen or done everything that there is to see or do in Eureka Springs, but there are a few things worthy of mention as “not to miss” if you get the chance (and depending on your interests).  In addition to the numerous art shops and galleries (always worthy of visiting in my opinion), I would highly recommend a visit to the Thorncrown Chapel.  Whether you are interested in the architecture (or not), or just merely want to enjoy the beautiful setting, it would be time well spent.

Another activity that was really well done and that I totally enjoyed was the Great Passion Play.  I’m not exactly sure I was surprised by this but it really exceeded my expectations tremendously and was a very enjoyable way to spend an evening (especially if you arrange to take advantage of the buffet dinner preceding the play).

Another really unique attraction: Quigley’s Castle, aka, “the Ozarks strangest dwelling.” Very unique indeed, but very interesting as well.

Or discover your own “treasures” and favorite attractions in this quaint and charming community nestled in the Ozarks of northwestern Arkansas!

Amazing Adjectives, Number Twenty-Four!

October 24, 2017

Halloween is only a week away, so here is a word from Middle English hagge, meaning “witch,” + ridden, a combining form meaning “overwhelmed by,” part participle of “to ride.”   As exemplified in The Highly Selective Dictionary of Golden Adjectives for the Extraordinarily Literate,

“My hagridden nights, populated with shrieking witches, are leaving me tormented and unrefreshed, scarcely able to face the demands of a new day.”


\ hag-rid-n \, adjective;

1.  worried or tormented, as by a witch.

Source: The Highly Selective Dictionary of Golden Adjectives for the Extraordinarily Literate by Eugene Ehrlich and

The Rabbi and the Priest . . . !

October 23, 2017

Happy Monday!  How about a bit of humor as we begin the new work week?

A Rabbi and a Priest are driving one day and, by a freak accident, have a head-on collision with tremendous force.

Both cars are totally demolished, but amazingly, neither of the clerics has a scratch on him.

After they crawl out of their cars, the rabbi sees the priest’s collar and says, “So you’re a priest. I’m a rabbi. Just look at our cars. There is nothing left, yet we are here, unhurt. This must be a sign from God!”

Pointing to the sky, he continues, “God must have meant that we should meet and share our lives in peace and friendship for the rest of our days on earth.”

The priest replies, “I agree with you completely. This must surely be a sign from God!”

The rabbi is looking at his car and exclaims, “And look at this! Here’s another miracle! My car is completely demolished, but this bottle of Mogen David wine did not break. Surely, God wants us to drink this wine and to celebrate our good fortune.”

The priest nods in agreement. The rabbi hands the bottle to the priest, who drinks half the bottle and hands the bottle back to the rabbi. The rabbi takes the bottle and immediately puts the cap on, then hands it back to the priest.

The priest, baffled, asks, “Aren’t you having any, Rabbi?”

The rabbi replies, “Nah… I think I’ll wait for the police.”


College Football 2017, Week Eight!

October 22, 2017

The Spartans continue to win! Despite trailing at the end of the third quarter, Michigan State found their offense in the fourth quarter for a come from behind victory over the Hoosiers of Indiana.   In the top-25, there are only eight (8) undefeated teams remaining and there continue to be five Big Ten teams in the rankings (Penn State [#2], Wisconsin [#5], Ohio State [#6], Michigan State [#18], and Michigan [#19]).   Next up for the Spartans: back on the road to take on the Wildcats of Northwestern.  Go Green!

The upsets this week included:
USC (#11) losing to Notre Dame (#13).

The close calls this week (games that were won by a touchdown or less) included:
Oklahoma (#9) defeating unranked Kansas State by seven (7) points.
Oklahoma State (#10) defeating unranked Texas by three (3) points in overtime.
South Florida (#16) defeating unranked Tulane by six (6) points.
West Virginia (#23) defeating unranked Baylor by two (2) points.
Memphis (#25) defeating unranked Houston by four (4) points.

Top-25 match-ups won by the higher-ranked team included:
Penn State (#2) defeating Michigan (#19).