Posts Tagged ‘General Musings’

First Female Supreme Court Justice!

September 25, 2017

Today marks the day (in 1981) that Sandra Day O’Connor took her seat on the Supreme Court of the United States after taking the oath of office (which was administered by Chief Justice Warren E. Burger).  She was originally nominated on July 7th by then President Ronald Reagan and was eventually approved by the Senate, in a 99-0 vote, on September 21st.

In addition, September 25th was the day for several other “firsts,” such as the first . . .

  • newspaper published in the British colonies (Publick Occurrences, Both Foreign and Domestic, Boston, MA, 1690)
  • newspaper publisher (Benjamin Harris, “the father of American newspapers,” 1690)
  • constitutional amendments to fail the ratification process (first two articles of the eventual Bill of Rights, 1789)
  • play presented by a Jewish professional acting troupe (Die Hexe, Hebrew Opera and Dramatic Company, New York, NY, 1880)
  • micropaleontology course at a college (Columbia University (Prof. Jesse James Galloway), New York, NY, 1924)
  • transatlantic telephone call carried by the transoceanic cable  (Cleo Frank Craig [Chairman, AT&T] in New York, NY, to British Postmaster General in London, UK, 1956)

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


Fun Fact Friday, Number Forty-Two!

September 22, 2017

Today’s real facts (courtesy of are all about jellyfish.  Did you know that . . .

  • a jellyfish is approximately 95% water? (Real Fact #18)
  • a group of jellyfish is called a smack? (Real Fact #779)
  • jellyfish don’t have brains?  (Real Fact #1248)
  • jellysfish can clone themselves? (Real Fact #1249)

Did you also know that the autumnal equinox will occur at 3:02 PM today (CDT)?


The Narrows!

September 21, 2017

Zion_NarrowsFor the last several days I have enjoyed being in and around Zion National Park (Utah) where we had the opportunity to hike “the Narrows” as well as several other short hikes along some other trails in the park.  What an awesome experience!   We opted for the top-down hike from Chamberlain Ranch (16-mile trek); our planning began several months ago since we needed to arrange for permits to hike in this direction.  We also were hoping that by going in the fall, despite the possibility of slightly “higher” and colder water, that the weather would be a bit more stable — i.e., less rain and a lower chance of flash flooding hazards. From here we will be heading up to the north rim of the Grand Canyon to hike for a couple of days before returning home. Ah, the joy of being disconnected . . . a little therapy, courtesy of nature!

The Rebuke!

September 18, 2017

Here’s the next installment of poetry generally attributed to Thomas, the sixth Earl of Harrington (circa 1730).  Enjoy!


The Rebuke

I always thought it want of sense,
And the worst kind of impudence,
In men who are for love unfit,
Yet ever are attempting it;
Since women, when they find the cheat,
Can never pardon the deceit;
And whatever face they put upon’t,
Will soon or late revenge the affront.

Not long ago a well-known rake,
Who still was lewd for lewdness’ sake:
One evening, when ’twas wearing dark,
Went out a-strolling to the park:
Where he did meet a harlot gay,
Who soared  about in hopes of prey:
The rake, well versed in such affairs,
Soon guessed her meaning by her airs,
And, going briskly up, began,
“Nor farther look, for I’m your man.”

“My man,” said she, “I know you not;
“What do you mean, you drunken sot?”
“Not know me,” said the foremost spark,
“Faith, Madam, though the night grows dark,
“Yet you may know me by this mark:”
Then in her hand he something laid,
At which the strumpet seemed afraid.

“What’s that,” said she, ‘you wicked beast?”
The fellow , tickled with the jest,
Applied his lips close to her ear,
and said “it is my p—–k, my dear.”

“Thy p——k,” she cried, in great surprise,
“A p——k, and of so small a size!
“It either is your little finger,
“Or you’re a vile Italian singer.”

Note: printed on the page following the title page was the following: “from a collection of poems that have been generally ascribed to Thomas, sixth Earl of Harrington. He was the son of Charles, the fifth Earl, and Margaret Lesslie, Countess of Rothes; and fought on the Royal side at the battle of Shirreffmuir, along with his brother John Lesslie, Earl of Rothes, and his own son, Lord Binning. These poems, according to Pinkerton, were printed about 1730, and have been reprinted in 1753, 1765, 1767, and 1777. He was also the author of Mia treatise on forest trees, which has gone through several editions. He died in 1735.” However, if these dates are correct (and I am by no means an expert historian in such matters), these poems could only have been written by either the first or second Earl of Harrington (William Stanhope and W.S. Jr.).


Fun Fact Friday, Number Forty-One!

September 15, 2017

The category for today’s trivial imponderable is “inventors/inventions.”  Do you know who founded the Mercedes-Benz company?

Mercedes just happened to be the name of a Daimler car company employee’s daughter (he, Emil Jellinek, name an engine and several racing cars after her); Benz refers to Karl Benz, an auto manufacturer.  In 1926, Benz merged with Daimler to become the “Mercedes-Benz” company.  The Daimler name resurfaced in 1998 when the company merged with the Chrysler Corporation to form Daimler-Chrysler.

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

Fun Fact Friday, Number Forty!

September 8, 2017

Today’s real facts (courtesy of are all about kangaroos.  Did you know that . . .

  • a kangaroo can jump thirty (30) feet? (Real Fact #93)
  • a male kangaroo is called a boomer?  (Real Fact #185)
  • a female kangaroo is called a flyer? (Real Fact #186)
  • a kangaroo cannot walk backward? (Real Fact #425)
  • a red kangaroo can hop up to 44 miles per hour? (Real Fact #1253)


Happy Labor Day, 2017!

September 4, 2017

In addition to being Labor Day this year, September 4th has been the day of numerous significant historical events including:

  • Romulus Augustulus, last Western Roman Emperor, abdicates after forces led by Odoacer invade Rome. Traditional end of the Western Roman Empire (476)
  • English astronomer Edmond Halley observes the comet named after him (1682)
  • General Lee invades the North with 50,000 Confederate troops during US Civil war (1862)
  • Apache Chief Geronimo surrenders ending last major US-Indian war (1886)
  • George Eastman patents the first roll-film camera & registers “Kodak” (1888)
  • English author Beatrix Potter first writes the story of Peter Rabbit for a 5 year old boy (1893)
  • First accident (collision) in London Underground: 22 people injured (1912)
  • Paavo Nurmi runs world record 2000m in 5:26.3 (1922)
  • Yanks become 1st team to win 5 consecutive championship (1953)
  • Governor of Arkansas, Orval Faubus, calls out National Guard to stop 9 black students from entering a Little Rock high school (1957)
  • Thieves steal 18 paintings from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in what was at the time the largest art theft in North America (1972)
  • Google is formally incorporated by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two students at Stanford University (1998)
  • Mother Teresa canonised by Pope Francis in a ceremony at the Vatican (2016)
  •  . . . and many, many more.


Fun Fact Friday, Number Thirty-Nine

September 1, 2017

The category for today’s trivial imponderable is “words.”  Do you know what English word is used to describe a group of geese in flight?

If  you are thinking the correct answer iss “gaggle,” you would be wrong.  Gaggle represents a group of geese on land or in the water.  For a group of geese “in flight,” you would use the word “skein.”

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


August 30, 2017

ProgressFix_largeHappy Wednesday!  Here we are, at the middle of the week which to me seems like a perfect time to interject some humor by way of this new demotivator (courtesy of www-dot-despair-dot-com).  As always, just enough crassness to make you laugh, but with just enough veracity to make you wonder if you should be laughing.   So, as we wrap up the week and start our downhill descent into the weekend, let’s knuckle down and stave off irrelevancy!

The Art of the Good Conversationalist!

August 26, 2017

Happy Saturday!  The key to being a good conversationalist: it is all a bit of “give” and “take.”  No one person should dominate the conversation.  First and foremost, don’t panic and just take it one idea or one sentence at a time.  Secondly, think before you speak; while “I” represents the smallest letter of the alphabet, keep from making it the largest word in your vocabulary.  Make sure you pick content that seems appropriate to the people you are conversing with.  You can never go wrong with compliments and other personal remarks (unless they are not sincere) and when you receive a compliment, simply say “thank you.”  You certainly do not want to belittle the compliment being received.  You should avoid unkind remarks and always use tact.  On the other hand, there are definitely some thing you should avoid when conversing:

  • don’t be a braggart
  • don’t throw in phrases from foreign languages to impress (this is a bit pretentious)
  • don’t be a boor or a bore
  • don’t condescend
  • don’t contradict
  • don’t correct a person’s pronunciation or grammatical errors (an exception: if they are mispronouncing your name)
  • don’t inquire about anyone’s age
  • don’t make derogatory remarks about a group or person(s)
  • don’t be an interrupter
  • don’t use annoying speech mannerisms liberally interspersed in your conversations (ummm, you know, like, etc.)
  • don’t be a name dropper
  • don’t pretend to know more than you do
  • don’t be a secret-teller
  • don’t finish others’ sentences
  • don’t be a snoop (asking too many personal questions)
  • don’t finish  (or correct the details of) someone else’s story
  • don’t dwell on your own problems
  • don’t allow your attention (or your eyes) to wander, show that you are paying attention

Source: Emily Post’s Etiquette (16th ed.) by Peggy Post