Grounded

Those of you who have followed Filosofa’s Word for more than a year may remember a series of posts that I re-blogged by justascottishgirl, a young woman from Scotland who, in late 2015 to mid-2016 took time from her own life to volunteer helping refugees on the Greek Isle of Kos. Her tales were often heartbreaking, but I was so impressed with what she and others were doing – giving of themselves for the cause of humanity – that I shared her story a few times in March 2016. She eventually returned to Scotland, but has now moved to the Greek Isle of Kos. She has started a new blog, titled From Greece With Love, and shares her very astute thoughts on not just the refugee crisis, but the terrible inhumane incidents taking place around the globe. I am sharing, with her permission, the first post on her new blog where she starts with a question: How does one stay grounded with all the terrible things happening around the world? She concludes with: “Stand together, show love where you find hate and don’t let fear win.” Just A Scottish Girl is an excellent writer, thinker, and humanitarian extraordinaire, and this post is well worth the read. Please take a few moments to read her words, for they reflect what most of us are thinking in these troubled times. Thank you, Scottish Girl, for all you do, for your beautiful heart, and for permission to share your thoughts and words.

From Greece With Love

All through life when times get tough, when things start to run away with us or when things start to get too much we often hear the advice “stay grounded.” We are told to “keep our feet on the ground” to balance us, to remind of something solid, something steady that can help bring us down from those dizzying heights that challenging times can take us to. But what happens when that safety net fails, when you can no longer trust the earth to keep you steady?

Recently I experienced a rather nasty earthquake which has left this question playing on my mind. When we live in a world of such uncertainty, how exactly do we stay grounded when we can’t even trust the ground we walk on?

But this idea of losing trust in your surroundings goes further than a shift in tectonic plates, for me personally anyway. Over…

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Good People Doing Good Things — A Kit and Kaboodle!

It’s that time again, time for a look at some of the good people who are out there doing good things for our world.  I think you will enjoy today’s selections … and here … you’re going to need theseKleenex tissues.png


Trenton Lewis is only 21-years-old, but this young man has one of the strongest work ethics I have ever seen.  Trenton is the father of an adorable 14-month-old daughter, Karmen, who serves as a powerful motivator.

Karmen

Karmen Lewis

“My pride is strong. Whatever she needs, I’m the person who is supposed to provide it for her.”

Seven months ago, Trenton was offered a job at the local UPS center, 11 miles from his home.  Only one small problem … Trenton did not own a car, nor have access to one.  But do you think that stopped this young man?  Nope … he took that job, and has never missed a shift nor been late a single time for his 4:00 a.m. shift.  How?  He leaves at midnight to walk the 11 miles, that’s how!  For seven months, braving rain, wind and traffic, he has walked to work and never said a word to anyone, never once complained.

In my book, Trenton himself is a ‘good people’, but there’s more!  One of his co-workers, Patricia “Mama Pat” Bryant, found out that Trenton was walking to work every day.  She and her husband have both worked at the UPS center for nearly 40 years, and they are good people.

“For a young person to decide in their mind ‘if I don’t have a ride, if I can’t get a ride then I’ll walk.’ If a guy can do that, we can pitch in to help.”

The Bryants quietly spread the word, and every single employee they asked chipped in until soon they had collected enough money, $2,000, to buy Trenton a car!  Not a new car, mind you, but a 2006 Saturn Ion in good condition that will get him to work and back home to his baby girl. Kenneth Bryant said when he told the car’s seller what he was doing, he even dropped the price of the car.

They surprised Trenton a few days ago when they asked him to come to a union meeting out in the parking lot, and then after a few brief words by Bryant, they handed the keys to Trenton … his first car!  Trenton, needless to say, was overwhelmed and profoundly grateful!

“I wanted to be with my daughter, to be able to support her. I wanted to be a father. I’m never going to forget this ever.”

Trenton LewisA whole lot of good people came together to help another good person … how much better can it get?

seperator

John Lee Cronin has Down’s Syndrome.  John Lee Cronin loves socks. John Lee Cronin is 21 years old and owns his own business … selling socks!

John CroninWhen John graduated from high school, he had already decided he wanted to start a business with his dad, and he loved socks, so what better venture than selling socks?  Not just socks, mind you … not plain ol’ white crew socks or black dress socks, but fun socks, funky socks!  In December 2016, John and his dad, launched an on line store named John’s Crazy Socks.

A visit to their website says it all!  Here are a few samples …

From top left:  Abraham Lincoln socks, Banana Split Troll socks, Banned Book socks, Donald Trump Hair socks, Lobster socks, Pizza and Beer socks, and Sunflower socks.

Now, typically on Wednesday’s ‘good people’ post, I shine a light on people who are feeding the homeless, helping people rebuild after a disaster, adopting or helping children survive and thrive, and it is true that John is doing none of these things.  But I happen to think that he still earned a spot in this post, for what he is doing is motivating and inspiring.  He is showing other disabled people that they can do anything they set their minds to.  And he is, I think, an inspiration to the rest of us as well, for I found myself in awe of this young man’s stamina and determination.

socks logoIn under two years, John’s Crazy Socks has topped $2 million in sales revenue.  It’s easy to see why … they have some awesome socks.  My girls love funky and fuzzy socks, and I know where I will be shopping come birthday and holiday season!

From the website …

John’s Crazy Socks is a father-son venture inspired by John Lee Cronin, a young man with Down syndrome, and his love of colorful and fun socks, or what he calls his “crazy socks.” Our is a business built on love. We’re on a mission to spread happiness through socks.

We have built our business on four pillars:

  • Socks: We offer over 1,200 socks so that you can find the perfect socks for you or to give as a gift. Our customers love our socks.

  • Fast and Personal Shipping: We ship same day so most customers get their orders within two days and we make it personal. Every package contains a thank you note from John and candy. Free shipping in the US at $40.

  • Giving Back: We donate 5 percent of our earnings to the Special Olympics and we’ve created a series of Awareness and Charity socks and donate money form each pair of socks to causes like Down syndrome and Autism awareness, the Special Olympics and breast cancer research.

  • Proving What’s Possible: We’re a business started by a man with Down syndrome. We hire people with disabilities. We do all we can for our customers. We believe that doing the right thing is the best business.

John Cronin 2All the more reason these are good people helping in their community, through donations and through hiring people with disabilities.  Please, if you have a few minutes, take time to check out their website and read their story   and check out the really crazy but cool socks! Heck, maybe you’ll even want to buy a pair or two!

seperatorLarry “Smiley” Kleiman served two tours of duty in Vietnam as a younger man. Today he spends his time doing all manners of good things, from being a volunteer firefighter and EMT, to helping out at the local K-9 unit.  Larry Kleiman is one of the good people in this story, but there is also another.  You see, Larry, nicknamed ‘Smiley’, hasn’t smiled in years, for he has no teeth.  A calcium deficiency that started while he was in Vietnam cost him his teeth over the course of the years.  Recently, though, Larry decided to go to Dr. Michael Tischler, founder of Teeth Tomorrow, for a consultation, just to see if perhaps he could get his smile back, but he left discouraged.

Smiley.png“I wasn’t really going to do it because it was a lot of money and on a fixed income, a retirement, there was no way feasible of me doing it.”

But he was surprised a few days later when he received a call from Dr. Tischler asking him to come back in to the office.  Dr. Tischler had been so moved by Larry’s story and what he had given – was still giving – to the world, that he decided to give Larry a full set of dental implants, valued at $60,000, for free!

tischler-2.png

Dr. Michael Tischler

“He smiled, he had no teeth. His name was Smiley, he was a fireman. He worked with dogs in Vietnam. And everything about him was just the kind of person that you want to help. They’re giving up their lives for our freedom. And to have a gentleman like this that had two tours in Vietnam, which was a horrible war… We felt good helping him.”

And there, folks, is the second ‘good person’ in this piece.  Larry has his new implants and is smiling once again, and Dr. Tischler is, in my book, a hero.

seperatorAnd that is a wrap for this week’s Good People Doing Good Things!  Isn’t it wonderful to realize that these people are only a small sampling of all the good people out there … people going quietly about the business of trying to help each other in whatever way they can, whether it be financial,  practical, or just giving a bit of time to someone who is lonely.  I am inspired and motivated to find a way to do something for somebody this week … how about you?

New Maps for Pennsylvania!

Twice this month, I have written about the gerrymandering case in Pennsylvania (links below in case you missed them).  You may remember that the congressional district map was heavily gerrymandered to give the GOP unfair advantage, and the state Supreme Court ordered the legislature to re-draw the map to be more fair by February 9th, and the governor to approve and submit the new map by February 15th, or the court would have the map re-drawn.  Well, a couple of the legislators balked, both deadlines were missed, so the court held true to its word and had the map re-drawn.

The new map on the left more closely reflects the partisan composition of the state, providing a more equitable opportunity for Democrats to pick up 2-3 additional  U.S. House seats in November. It’s also more compact than Republicans’ original map, and it splits fewer counties and municipal areas. While Democratic candidates for the state’s 18 U.S. House seats tend to capture about half of the statewide popular vote, that’s translated into just five of the 18 seats in each election held since the 2011 redistricting.

In the last election, 2016, the majority of the popular vote was actually for democrats, but due to the manipulation of congressional district boundaries, democrats only won 5 of the 18 seats in the House.  Fair?  Hardly, but then the same could be said of the same year’s presidential election also, where the majority lost the election due to the electoral college.

It is a safe bet to say that the republican-led legislature will challenge the new map, but they have few options to do so, as the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the case, effectively upholding the ruling of the state court.  The only plausible argument would be that the maps violate the Elections Clause of the Constitution, which vests in the state legislature the power to choose rules for congressional elections, and even that is a long shot.

But meanwhile, you know Trump couldn’t resist an opportunity to put his two-cents’ worth in, and he took to Twitter early this morning:

Hope Republicans in the Great State of Pennsylvania challenge the new “pushed” Congressional Map, all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary. Your Original was correct! Don’t let the Dems take elections away from you so that they can raise taxes & waste money! – 8:11 AM – Feb 20, 2018

Appropriate remark for a president?  No, but then when are they ever any more?

Gerrymandering, for any who may be unclear on precisely what the term means, is a means of re-drawing district maps to manipulate the boundaries in order to favour one party over the other.  The Washington Post published an excellent article explaining the process back in March 2015  that I urge you to take a look at.  The graphic below, taken from that article, provides a pretty good visual explanation.

gerrymanderingIf the map provided by the Pennsylvania  Supreme Court is allowed to stand, it is quite possible that the democrats will pick up an additional 2, possibly 3 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives in November.  It is a start, but there are more states with unfairly drawn congressional district maps that need to be challenged this year.  Thus far, Pennsylvania and Florida are the only two who have taken this step.  The 10 most gerrymandered states are …

  1. North Carolina
  2. Maryland
  3. Pennsylvania
  4. West Virginia
  5. Kentucky
  6. Louisiana
  7. Utah
  8. Texas
  9. Arkansas
  10. Ohio

Let us hope that Pennsylvania’s new map is not overturned, and that more states, particularly the ones listed above, get on the bandwagon to re-draw more fair and equitable maps.  I am not asking for any special treatment for democrats, merely an opportunity for a fair election, such as is called for by the U.S. Constitution.

Related links:

Judicial Independence … Going, Going …

Senator Above The Law?  

The Puppeteer

Disclaimer:  The story you are about to read is fiction, a product of the bouncing mind of Filosofa, and to the best of my knowledge, none of the following conversations took place, though similar ones may or may not have.

The exact date is unimportant, but it was sometime around mid-2014, when Russian President Vladimir Putin was enjoying a nice supper with two of his closest advisors.  They were discussing Barack Obama and the United States, supposedly an ally, but not acting very much like one, in Putin’s view. seperatorFRANCE-RUSSIA-US-POLITICS-DIPLOMACYPutin:  America’s interference in Iraq and Libya have led to regime changes that give our people ideas.  I do not like it!  The United States needs to stay on its own side of the globe and President Obama needs to tend to his business at home and stop meddling in our business.  Imposing sanctions for what he considers to be human rights violations!  Pah! Я бы удар его задницу!!!

Advisor #1:  Well, Obama has only two more years, and then there will be a new president.  I hear that clown that has some television show in America where he goes around firing people and screaming “You’re fired!!!” is thinking about entering the race.

Putin:  Really?  You mean that … oh, what is his name … Chump?

Advisor #2:  I believe it is Trump … Donald Trump.

Putin:  Oh yes, that’s it!  Both of you, work on a dossier … I want to know everything there is to know about this man, his businesses, his family, his connections, even down to what brand of toilet tissue he buys!  I’m getting a seed of an idea …  Have that dossier on my desk no later than Monday morning!seperatorThe following Monday, Putin meets again with his advisors after reading the information they provided earlier that day.

advisorsPutin: Excellent information!  I just got off the phone with Sergey Kislyak, and he is going to schedule a meeting with this Donald Chump later this week.  From what I have read in your reports, the man is not only an egomaniac, but not a very bright one!  He spends more time in bankruptcy court than he does managing his businesses, he has had as many failures as successes.  He is also a liar and a cheat, according to everyone who has ever done business with him, including his own ex-wife!  Perfect … absolutely perfect for what I have in mind!

Advisor #2: And what exactly is it that you have in mind, sir?  The man, after all, is a bumbling fool whose own ego matters more to him than anything else.

Putin:  Exactly!!!  He is as pliable as clay, and his ego is his Achilles heel.  My plan, you ask?  My plan is to make certain that Donald Trump becomes the next president of the United States!

Advisor #1:  Brilliant, Mr. President!

Advisor #2:  Brilliant, Mr. President!

Putin:  By dangling shiny objects in front of him and at the same time, stroking his massive ego, he will become our puppet.  Those sanctions that Obama has imposed will disappear, and Mr. Trump will do our bidding!

Advisor #2:  But Mr. President, if you don’t mind my asking, how do you plan to ensure this Mr. Trump is elected?  American elections are very democratic.

Putin:  The details I will leave to the two of you.  You may utilize any staff and any other resources you may need, but it is your job for the next two years to ensure that the election in November 2016 goes to the fool with the bad hair.  Once you have carried out your mission, I will be able to control the puppet we have placed in the White House in Washington D.C.

putin puppeteerseperatorIt is now 02 March 2016.  A lot has happened in the nine months since Trump announced his candidacy, and Putin is once again having a nice dinner at the famed Mari Vanna restaurant with his two advisors.

Putin:  Tonight, we celebrate, yes?  Our Chump has taken the bait and I don’t know how you’ve done it, but the fool just won 7 of the 11 states that vote on Super Tuesday!  You will see a little something extra in your pay stockings this week!

Advisor #1:  Thank you, Mr. President.  It hasn’t been easy, for Trump seems to wish to bring about his own downfall on a near-daily basis!  He offends literally everyone with his crassness and disrespect for all.

Advisor #2:  We have paid agitators at all his rallies, and that has helped, for once they start chanting “Lock her up!”, he re-focuses on his diatribe against Ms. Clinton and we are able to bring him back on track.

Putin:  You’ve done well, but the hardest part is still ahead of us, and that is getting enough votes.  How is the advertising campaign coming?

Advisor #1:  We have set up accounts all over social media, and it is successful beyond our wildest imaginings!  People are actually believing nearly everything we tell them!  I never knew how pliable, how gullible, the American people are!

Putin:  Well you must understand this … they are greedy to a fault.  If you tell them that they are so underpaid, that they deserve so much better, and that Trump is the answer, that he will make them wealthy, they will believe it because they want to believe it.  They want it to be so.  And the hacking of the voting machines?

Advisor #2:  That is not coming quite as well, sir.  The security is excellent, and of the 21 states whose machines we have attempted to breach, only two have been minimally successful, Illinois and Arizona.  We have our best cyber-techs on it, and have even hired assistance from, believe it or not, Silicon Valley!  As well, of course, as the Swiss.

Putin:  Okay, it is clear that we will not have as much impact as we would like in that area, but don’t give up!  We must focus, then, on making sure the people are convinced that Ms. Clinton, whom is actually quite nice, but far too smart, is seen as a criminal with much to hide, and that Mr. Chump, er, Trump, is seen as the one who will make all their dreams come true.  Have you been successful in making contact within the Trump camp?

Assistant #1:  Yes sir, that has been quite successful, and we are told that Trump’s grown children play a major part in his campaign, and even better, that they are no more intelligent than Trump himself, so we are hoping to soon be able to make direct contact with one or possibly two of them.

Putin:  And you have been acquiring the information to use as blackmail if needs be, yes?

Assistant #2:  Of course, sir.  Once elected, he will do our bidding in the areas that concern us, as we will have him ‘by the short hairs’, as they say in the U.S.  In other areas, we will leave him to his own devices.

Putin:  Perfect!  I am well pleased by your work and I think we will be celebrating on the ninth of November!

seperatorRussia's President Putin holds a glass during a ceremony of receiving diplomatic credentials from foreign ambassadors at the Kremlin in MoscowThere were many more meetings over the course of the next nine months, but let us fast forward to November 9th, at 9:00 a.m. Moscow time, 1:00 a.m. in Washington D.C.  Putin and his advisors are once again meeting, and when the advisors arrive, Putin has a huge bottle of champagne waiting.

Putin:  Well, gentlemen, we did it!  We have pulled off the biggest heist in the history of mankind!  We literally stole an election!  There is still much work to be done, however you both must take a vacation for two weeks and recharge, for we now embark on the next phase.

Advisor #1:  {groans}  Yes sir, thank you very much President Putin.

Advisor #2:  {groans}  And what, sir, is the next phase, if I am permitted to ask?

Putin:  Chaos.  We must create so much chaos within the two parties and among the people, in the halls of Congress, that they cannot agree with each other on virtually anything!

Advisor #2:  And might I ask the goal of this chaos campaign?

Putin:  To keep the people of the United States from coming together, discussing ideas, and perhaps figuring out that Donald Trump is a crass fool who cannot fulfill his promises to them, and had no intention of doing so anyway.  It wouldn’t be hard to figure out if they simply stopped screaming at each other and talked, so we must keep the chaos at a high level, keep them biting and snarling at each other, and give the Chump free reign, for he will inadvertently play along with our plan!  {sips champagne}  And now, gentlemen, I must make some calls, if you will excuse me?  Enjoy your vacations!

happy putinseperator

Sleep well tonight, my friends.

History Lesson – by Hugh Curtler

Many have written, in the five days since the mass school shooting tragedy in Parkland, Florida, about the need for enhanced gun regulations.  It is always so, and I myself am working on a piece about the same.  Hugh Curtler’s piece, however, stands out for two reasons.  First, it is a calm, well-reasoned piece, rather than the emotionally-charged pieces some of us write.  Second, he references a book from a former Supreme Court Justice that proves beyond a doubt that stricter gun regulations, such as banning assault weapons and enhanced background checks DO NOT infringe upon the 2nd Amendment.  Please take a few minutes to read Hugh’s excellent work and leave him a comment letting him know what you think.  Thank you, Hugh, for permission to share.

hughcurtler

daily gadfly

In the wake of the most recent spate of killings in a high school in Florida we hear once again the tired mantra “guns don’t kill people, people kill  people.” The whole thing is brushed aside as a case of poor mental health. And while there is some truth in this, since anyone who walks into a school and starts shooting innocent teachers and students has to be clinically insane, it remains a fact that guns DO kill people and automatic weapons kill a great number of people in a very short time. Let us now hush the mantra and the mindless dismissal of real causes to consider the fact that there is hard evidence that tougher gun laws do, in fact, reduce the number of gun deaths. This has been shown in the case of both Japan and Australia.

Read the rest of the story

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz … Jolly … zzzzzz … Monday

sleepyhead      Yawwwwnnnn …

OH!!!  You startled me!  Is it that time already?  Well don’t just stand there … come on in where it’s warm … just let me go turn on the coffee pot

coffeeSo tell me, dear friends, did you have a great weekend?  Mine was pretty good.  I was chuffed on Saturday afternoon when we went to Barnes & Noble and I was actually able to read the book jackets without using the magnifying glass, so I spent Saturday with a smile on my face!  And I’m sure you guys aren’t exactly looking forward to going back to the salt mines today, right?  Well, let’s see if we can find some fun things to put smiles on those gorgeous faces!  Pull up a chair, grab a cuppa …

Text dividersA tasty prank …

Y’know, I’ve often wondered what would happen if I called the local pizza place and ordered pizza sent to somebody else … just for a prank.  Mind you, I wouldn’t do it, but the thought has occurred to me a time or two, and likely it has to some of you too!  I know I’m not the only devious mind in this bunch!

Now, I don’t know who pranked German Attorney Guido Grolle, but it certainly wasn’t me!  Whoever it was … or rather is … they are doing it up right!  Guido’s office has received more than 100 pizzas that they did not order over the course of the last two weeks, and they keep on coming.  Apparently, the toppings are becoming increasingly disgusting, as one of the more recent ones had something called ‘currywurst’ – I don’t even know what that is, and am fairly certain I’m better off not knowing! And there have occasionally been orders of sushi, sausage and Greek food!

pizza-GuidoPolice have opened an investigation into the orders, but investigators said fraud charges are unlikely, as Grolle is not required to pay for the unwanted food.  Whoever it is, has Guido’s email address, for he gets notifications of the deliveries via email, sometimes starting first thing in the morning.

Guido email

EAttorney Guido Grolle’s email directory is full of announcements of pizza deliveries he did not order. Much was actually delivered. Photo: Oliver Schapernter a caption

So, any guesses as to who the perpetrator of this crime is?  I would guess a disgruntled former client, or perhaps a lawyer from an opposing firm who lost a case to ol’ Guido!  Then again … could be an angry ex-wife!


And speaking of pizza …

Steve Mallie, the owner of Mallie’s Sports Grill & Bar in Southgate, Michigan, broke a Guinness World Record last July by cooking up the biggest hamburger, weighing in at 1,794 pounds!

hamburger recordBut then he decided to shoot for another, this time with pizza.  He and his crew cooked up a 72 x 72 inch pizza … for those who are mathematically challenged or don’t have your calculator handy, that is six-feet long and six feet wide.

Now, that’s all well and fine, but frankly, it doesn’t look all that tasty to me, and by the time anybody got to eat it, it was no doubt cold.  So, I ask the question:  why?  And the answer, I’m sure, would be “because we can”.  Sometimes, just because you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean that you should.


Best use of a lottery win …

Bill Pendergast of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, lost his home in the summer of 2016 when wildfires swept through the area, relentlessly destroying nearly 1.5 million acres of Boreal forest, residential areas, and oil sands. 2,400 homes and other buildings were destroyed, among them Mr. Pendergast’s house.

wildfireWhile the Pendergasts have been struggling financially to re-build their home, it is still only partly complete, due to a lack of funds, among other things.  But last week, Bill was on his way to visit his father when his father called and asked him if he would stop and pick up a cold soft drink for him.  He did, and while he was in the store, he bought a lottery ticket.  Well, guess what, folks?  He won!!!  A cool $1,000,000 USD, $800,000 Canadian dollars!

I don’t write about lottery winners very often, but every now and then there is a winner who I think is truly deserving, truly in need.  Now Bill and his wife can finish that house, and just in time to welcome their first grandbaby!

pendergast wins


All in favour, say “woof”

Now, I know I have long promised to keep Jolly Monday free of politics, but I couldn’t resist just one tiny exception … I hope you’ll forgive me.

In a town in Kentucky called “Rabbit Hash”, the mayor has been of the canine persuasion for as long as I can remember.  There have been several different mayors, but all of them have been dogs:

  • First Mayor: Goofy Borneman- Calhoun
  • Second Mayor: Junior Cochran
  • Third Mayor: Lucy Lou
  • Current Mayor: Brynneth Pawltro
  • Ambassadors: Bourbon & Lady Stone

rabbit hash mayorIt’s never been a problem … Rabbit Hash, a thriving metropolis of 315 people, functions quite nicely.  Now, over in Kansas, another four-legged fellow, Angus, filed the paperwork in a timely fashion to get his name on the ballot as a candidate for governor.  Hey, why not?  If it can work for the city of Rabbit Hash, why not for the state of Kansas?

Angus

But nooooo … Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who also just so happens to have thrown his hat into the same gubernatorial ring, says, “Officially, we will not allow a dog to run for governor.”  Spoil sport.  Some have speculated that Mr. Kobach felt threatened by the competition from Angus.  Perhaps so. My own opinion is that Angus could not possibly be any worse than Kris Kobach, and now I will drop this topic before I ….

Angus-2

Angus not happy.  Angus maybe challenge Kris Kobach to duel.


Bouncy, bouncy, bouncy …

Last but not least, this one is for Roger, the master of the British Oak Pogo Stick!

Who knew that there are serious pogo stick competitions?  Earlier this month, Russian professional Xpogo athlete Dmitry Arsenyev traveled to Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania to break the Guinness World Record for most consecutive no-handed back flips on a pogo stick and highest jump on a pogo stick as part of Whistle Sports’ Chronicles of a Record Breaker series.  Roger … you are NOT to even attempt this, understand?  I will call your wife!

pogo-1First Arsenyev attempted the no-handed back flip record which required him to complete more than seven consecutive flips on his pogo stick and release his hands from the handlebars while upside-down, without falling off or losing control.

He narrowly topped the previous record by completing eight no-handed back flips before landing outside of the cushioned area provided for him.

pogo-2Next Arsenyev attempted the record for highest jump on a pogo stick, which Xpogo co-founder Nick Ryan described as “the mother of all pogo records.”

He built up momentum with several bounces before vaulting over a pole set at 11 feet 0.99 inches high, about a half-inch higher than the previous record of 11 feet and half an inch. 

Well, folks, a look at the clock, and the obnoxious buzzing of my dryer tell me that our Jolly Monday time is up.  I like seeing that you have beautiful smiles on your faces, and I ask only that you go out and share those smiles with people you run into today who have none.  I admit that mine has been faltering a bit lately, and I can tell you from experience, that if somebody smiles at me, it lightens my heart just a bit.  I hope you all have a terrific week – remember that spring is getting closer by the day!  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa!

toon-Maxine

While we were distracted, look what oozed in through the keyhole – by musingsofanoldfart

Our friend Keith Wilson wrote this post a couple of weeks ago … 05 February … and I meant to re-blog it when I first read it.  I actually thought I had shared it with you all, but I eventually figured out that I hadn’t, and by that time the re-blog button had disappeared, so I waited.  Obviously, holding my breath for the return of the button is not working, so I will share Keith’s post in this manner, for this is too important and we really need to get the word out.

Please take just a minute to read the latest in our government’s attempt to help the rich get richer and ensure that the poor get poorer.

musingsofanoldfart

Independent views from someone who offers some historical context

KeithOn December 5, 2017, the Department of Labor under the guidance of the self-proclaimed populist President offered proposed regulations that would affect tipped employees. The 60 day comment period just expired, so unless the push back was convincing this proposal may become regulation. The proposal unwinds an Obama regulation which prohibits an employer from garnishing tips from workers who make at least the $7.25 minimum wage.

It should be noted that restaurant workers have a lesser minimum wage of only $2.13 which has been in place for twenty plus years. They can be paid an hourly wage this low, provided their tip income brings their total hourly pay to $7.25. As of May, 2017, the average combined wage and tip income for restaurant workers was $11.82 per hour.

In essence, the proposed regulation would allow an employer to garnish the extra tips above a total wage rate of $7.25. Now, the employer could be altruistic and reallocate this tip income to all workers, such as the cooks and buspeople (those that clean off the tables). This could also include the tipped worker who would receive a reallocated portion, but less than the direct tips garnished.

Read more

Many thanks, Keith, for allowing me to share this important information!

Teaching Kids To Shoot Guns???

I was really not in the mood to write about this week’s horrific school shooting in Parkland, Florida, and had no intention of doing so for this morning’s post.  But then I stumbled upon something that made me furrow my brow, scratch my head, and do a little digging.

The murderer/shooter, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, had been enrolled in a school program supported by the NRA, that taught marksmanship skills.  Let me repeat that … there was actually a school-sponsored program, funded by the National Rifle Association, that taught children to shoot guns!  WHY????

child-gunThe school received a $10,000 grant from the NRA to teach children to shoot guns, and this, folks, is the result!  Is anybody besides me incensed, horrified and confused as heck by this?

Cruz was a member of the school’s marksmanship ‘team’.  From an article by ThinkProgress …

The marksmanship team was part of the schools’ JROTC program. On the team, Cruz trained with “air rifles special-made for target shooting, typically on indoor ranges at targets the size of a coin.”

Cruz discussed his AR-15 with other team members and was given the nickname “Wolf.” Another member of the team described him as “a very good shot.”

In 2015, the NRA Foundation gave $2.2 million in similar grants promoting gun use to schools around the country. This includes grants “to elementary and middle schools.”  We are teaching elementary school children to shoot guns???  Again I ask, WHY???

child-gun-4The United States already has the most insane lack of gun laws on earth, we have the least oversight on the sale of firearms of any other nation, and now we are putting them in the hands of children and teaching them to hit “targets the size of a coin”.  Wonder no more how Columbine and now Parkland happened.  The answer is right on this page.

The NRA Foundation’s website says it’s “investing in the next generation of America’s leaders” by devoting “a significant majority” of the group’s grants to “youth shooting sports.”  At this rate, America won’t need leaders, for there will be nobody left to lead!  The NRA has been actively commenting on the Parkland massacre on social media, arguing that the only way to prevent future tragedies is more guns.

child-gun-3Fifty-three percent (53%) of our elected representatives in Congress received donations from the NRA in the last election. Yes, the FBI dropped the ball on Cruz, as likely did school officials and certainly Cruz’ parents.  But the NRA and any who support it in any way, are responsible for funding programs that teach children to shoot guns.  This, my friends, is an abomination and the vast majority of people in this nation are complicit.

Below is a table of every member of Congress who received funding from the NRA in 2016.  I found it interesting that representative Steve Scalise, who was seriously injured when a gunman shot at members of Congress when they were playing softball last summer, is also a recipient of NRA funding.

Name (Party-State) Chamber Amount
Abraham, Ralph (R-LA) House $1,000
Aderholt, Robert B (R-AL) House $3,500
Allen, Richard W (R-GA) House $2,000
Amodei, Mark (R-NV) House $1,500
Angelle, Scott (R-LA) House $1,000
Arrington, Jodey (R-TX) House $1,000
Ayotte, Kelly (R-NH) Senate $5,950
Babeu, Paul (R-AZ) House $1,000
Babin, Brian (R-TX) House $2,000
Bacon, Donald John (R-NE) House $4,950
Banks, Jim (R-IN) House $1,000
Barletta, Lou (R-PA) House $1,000
Barr, Andy (R-KY) House $2,000
Barton, Joe (R-TX) House $2,000
Benishek, Dan (R-MI) House $1,000
Bergman, John (R-MI) House $4,950
Beutler, Jaime Herrera (R-WA) House $1,000
Biggs, Andy (R-AZ) House $1,000
Bilirakis, Gus (R-FL) House $2,000
Bishop, Mike (R-MI) House $2,000
Bishop, Rob (R-UT) House $4,000
Bishop, Sanford (D-GA) House $3,500
Black, Diane (R-TN) House $2,500
Blackburn, Marsha (R-TN) House $2,500
Blum, Rod (R-IA) House $7,450
Blunt, Roy (R-MO) Senate $11,900
Boehner, John (R-OH) House $4,950
Boozman, John (R-AR) Senate $5,950
Bost, Mike (R-IL) House $2,000
Boustany, Charles Jr (R-LA) House $4,950
Brady, Kevin (R-TX) House $2,000
Brat, Dave (R-VA) House $2,000
Bridenstine, James (R-OK) House $2,000
Brooks, Mo (R-AL) House $1,000
Brooks, Susan (R-IN) House $1,000
Bucshon, Larry (R-IN) House $1,000
Budd, Ted (R-NC) House $3,000
Burgess, Michael (R-TX) House $1,000
Burr, Richard (R-NC) Senate $9,900
Bush, Jeb (R) Pres $1,000
Byrne, Bradley (R-AL) House $2,000
Calvert, Ken (R-CA) House $4,500
Carter, Buddy (R-GA) House $2,000
Carter, Dan (R-CT) Senate $1,000
Carter, John (R-TX) House $2,500
Chabot, Paul (R-CA) House $3,500
Chabot, Steve (R-OH) House $2,000
Chaffetz, Jason (R-UT) House $2,000
Cheney, Liz (R-WY) House $1,000
Christie, Chris (R) Pres $1,500
Coffman, Mike (R-CO) House $9,900
Cole, Tom (R-OK) House $5,000
Collins, Chris (R-NY) House $2,000
Collins, Doug (R-GA) House $2,500
Comer, James (R-KY) House $4,950
Comstock, Barbara (R-VA) House $10,400
Conaway, Mike (R-TX) House $1,500
Cook, Paul (R-CA) House $3,000
Cramer, Kevin (R-ND) House $2,000
Crapo, Mike (R-ID) Senate $4,950
Crawford, Rick (R-AR) House $1,000
Crenshaw, Ander (R-FL) House $1,000
Cruz, Ted (R-TX) Senate $350
Cuellar, Henry (D-TX) House $3,000
Culberson, John (R-TX) House $5,950
Curbelo, Carlos (R-FL) House $2,500
Davidson, Warren (R-OH) House $1,000
Davis, Rodney (R-IL) House $2,500
Denham, Jeff (R-CA) House $2,000
Dent, Charlie (R-PA) House $4,000
DeSantis, Ron (R-FL) House $1,000
Desjarlais, Scott (R-TN) House $2,000
Diaz-Balart, Mario (R-FL) House $2,000
Duckworth, Tammy (D-IL) House $50
Duffy, Sean P (R-WI) House $2,000
Duncan, Jeff (R-SC) House $3,000
Dunn, Neal (R-FL) House $1,750
Ellmers, Renee (R-NC) House $2,000
Emmer, Tom (R-MN) House $2,000
Fareed, Justin (R-CA) House $2,500
Farenthold, Blake (R-TX) House $2,000
Faso, John (R-NY) House $5,950
Ferguson, Drew (R-GA) House $3,000
Fleischmann, Chuck (R-TN) House $2,000
Fleming, John (R-LA) House $1,000
Flores, Bill (R-TX) House $2,000
Forbes, Randy (R-VA) House $1,000
Fortenberry, Jeff (R-NE) House $1,000
Foxx, Virginia (R-NC) House $2,000
Franks, Trent (R-AZ) House $2,000
Gaetz, Matt (R-FL) House $1,000
Gallagher, Mike (R-WI) House $4,950
Garrett, Scott (R-NJ) House $5,950
Garrett, Tom (R-VA) House $1,000
Gibbs, Bob (R-OH) House $2,000
Glenn, Darryl (R-CO) Senate $1,000
Gohmert, Louis B Jr (R-TX) House $1,000
Goodlatte, Bob (R-VA) House $7,450
Gosar, Paul (R-AZ) House $2,000
Gowdy, Trey (R-SC) House $2,000
Granger, Kay (R-TX) House $2,500

 

Grassley, Chuck (R-IA) Senate $9,900
Graves, Sam (R-MO) House $2,000
Graves, Tom (R-GA) House $3,000
Griffith, Morgan (R-VA) House $2,000
Grothman, Glenn S (R-WI) House $2,000
Guinta, Frank (R-NH) House $9,900
Guthrie, Brett (R-KY) House $1,000
Hanna, Richard (R-NY) House $2,000
Hardy, Cresent (R-NV) House $9,900
Harper, Gregg (R-MS) House $2,000
Harris, Andy (R-MD) House $2,500
Hartzler, Vicky (R-MO) House $2,000
Heck, Joe (R-NV) House $8,900
Hensarling, Jeb (R-TX) House $2,000
Hice, Jody B (R-GA) House $2,000
Higgins, Clay (R-LA) House $2,500
Hill, French (R-AR) House $2,000
Hoeven, John (R-ND) Senate $8,450
Holbrook, Mark (R-ME) House $1,000
Holding, George (R-NC) House $2,000
Hollingsworth, Trey (R-IN) House $2,000
Hudson, Richard (R-NC) House $4,950
Huelskamp, Tim (R-KS) House $2,000
Huizenga, Bill (R-MI) House $2,000
Hultgren, Randy (R-IL) House $2,000
Hunter, Duncan D (R-CA) House $3,000
Hurd, Will (R-TX) House $9,900
Hurt, Robert (R-VA) House $1,000
Isakson, Johnny (R-GA) Senate $8,450
Issa, Darrell (R-CA) House $2,000
Jenkins, Evan (R-WV) House $3,000
Jenkins, Lynn (R-KS) House $2,000
Jindal, Bobby (R) Pres $1,000
Johnson, Bill (R-OH) House $2,000
Johnson, Mike (R-LA) House $1,000
Johnson, Ron (R-WI) Senate $7,450
Johnson, Sam (R-TX) House $2,500
Jones, Scott (R-CA) House $2,500
Jones, Walter B Jr (R-NC) House $1,000
Jordan, Jim (R-OH) House $2,000
Joyce, David P (R-OH) House $3,500
Katko, John (R-NY) House $9,900
Kelly, Mike (R-PA) House $1,500
Kelly, Trent (R-MS) House $2,000
Kennedy, John (R-LA) Senate $4,950
King, Steven A (R-IA) House $2,000
Kinzinger, Adam (R-IL) House $2,000
Knight, Steve (R-CA) House $3,000
Kustoff, David (R-TN) House $2,000
Labrador, Raul (R-ID) House $1,000
LaHood, Darin (R-IL) House $3,000
LaMalfa, Doug (R-CA) House $2,000
Lamborn, Douglas L (R-CO) House $2,000
Lankford, James (R-OK) Senate $5,000
Latta, Robert E (R-OH) House $3,000
Lee, Mike (R-UT) Senate $2,500
Lewis, Jason (R-MN) House $3,500
LoBiondo, Frank (R-NJ) House $1,000
Long, Billy (R-MO) House $2,000
Loudermilk, Barry (R-GA) House $4,000
Love, Mia (R-UT) House $3,000
Lucas, Frank D (R-OK) House $2,000
Luetkemeyer, Blaine (R-MO) House $2,000
Marchant, Kenny (R-TX) House $1,000
Marino, Tom (R-PA) House $2,000
Marshall, Roger (R-KS) House $1,000
Mast, Brian (R-FL) House $4,950
McCain, John (R-AZ) Senate $300
McCarthy, Kevin (R-CA) House $1,000
McCaul, Michael (R-TX) House $3,500
McClintock, Tom (R-CA) House $2,000
McHenry, Patrick (R-NC) House $4,000
McKinley, David (R-WV) House $1,000
McSally, Martha (R-AZ) House $6,500
Meadows, Mark R (R-NC) House $1,150
Messer, Luke (R-IN) House $2,000
Mica, John L (R-FL) House $4,000
Miller, Jeff (R-FL) House $2,500
Mills, Stewart (R-MN) House $9,900
Mitchell, Paul (R-MI) House $1,000
Moolenaar, John (R-MI) House $2,000
Mooney, Alex (R-WV) House $2,000
Moran, Jerry (R-KS) Senate $2,450
Mullin, Markwayne (R-OK) House $4,950
Mulvaney, Mick (R-SC) House $2,000
Murkowski, Lisa (R-AK) Senate $4,500
Murphy, Tim (R-PA) House $2,000
Narvaiz, Susan (R-TX) House $250
Newhouse, Dan (R-WA) House $3,000
Noem, Kristi (R-SD) House $2,000
Nunes, Devin (R-CA) House $3,500
Olson, Pete (R-TX) House $3,500
Palazzo, Steven (R-MS) House $1,750
Palmer, Gary (R-AL) House $2,000
Paul, Rand (R-KY) Senate $9,900
Paulsen, Erik (R-MN) House $3,000
Pearce, Steve (R-NM) House $2,000
Perry, Scott (R-PA) House $2,000
Peterson, Collin (D-MN) House $2,000
Pittenger, Robert (R-NC) House $2,000
Poe, Ted (R-TX) House $2,000
Poliquin, Bruce (R-ME) House $9,900
Pompeo, Mike (R-KS) House $2,000
Portman, Rob (R-OH) Senate $9,900
Posey, Bill (R-FL) House $2,000
Price, Tom (R-GA) House $2,000
Ratcliffe, John Lee (R-TX) House $2,500
Reed, Tom (R-NY) House $3,000
Reichert, Dave (R-WA) House $1,000
Renacci, Jim (R-OH) House $2,000
Rice, Tom (R-SC) House $2,000
Roby, Martha (R-AL) House $2,000
Rodgers, Cathy McMorris (R-WA) House $2,500
Rogers, Hal (R-KY) House $2,000
Rogers, Mike D (R-AL) House $2,000
Rohrabacher, Dana (R-CA) House $1,000
Rokita, Todd (R-IN) House $2,000
Rooney, Francis (R-FL) House $1,000
Rooney, Tom (R-FL) House $1,000
Roskam, Peter (R-IL) House $2,000
Ross, Dennis (R-FL) House $2,000
Rothfus, Keith J (R-PA) House $2,000
Rouzer, David (R-NC) House $2,000
Royce, Ed (R-CA) House $2,500
Rubio, Marco (R-FL) Senate $9,900
Russell, Steven (R-OK) House $2,000
Rutherford, John (R-FL) House $1,000
Ryan, Paul (R-WI) House $5,950
Sanford, Mark (R-SC) House $2,000
Scalise, Steve (R-LA) House $4,950
Schweikert, David (R-AZ) House $1,000
Scott, Austin (R-GA) House $2,000
Scott, Tim (R-SC) Senate $4,500
Sensenbrenner, F James Jr (R-WI) House $1,000
Sessions, Pete (R-TX) House $2,500
Shelby, Richard C (R-AL) Senate $4,950
Shimkus, John M (R-IL) House $2,500
Shuster, Bill (R-PA) House $5,950
Simpson, Mike (R-ID) House $2,000
Smith, Adrian (R-NE) House $2,500
Smith, Jason (R-MO) House $2,000
Smith, Lamar (R-TX) House $4,950
Smucker, Lloyd (R-PA) House $5,950
Stefanik, Elise (R-NY) House $2,000
Stewart, Chris (R-UT) House $3,000
Stivers, Steve (R-OH) House $2,000
Szeliga, Kathy (R-MD) Senate $2,000
Tacherra, Johnny (R-CA) House $2,500
Tarkanian, Danny (R-NV) House $4,950
Taylor, Scott W (R-VA) House $3,500
Tenney, Claudia (R-NY) House $5,950
Thompson, Glenn (R-PA) House $2,000
Thornberry, Mac (R-TX) House $2,000
Thune, John (R-SD) Senate $5,000
Tiberi, Pat (R-OH) House $3,000
Tipton, Scott (R-CO) House $3,500
Trott, Dave (R-MI) House $2,000
Trump, Donald (R) Pres $1,065
Turner, Michael R (R-OH) House $2,000
Upton, Fred (R-MI) House $1,000
Valadao, David (R-CA) House $3,500
Vitter, David (R-LA) Senate $4,950
Wagner, Ann L (R-MO) House $2,000
Walberg, Tim (R-MI) House $4,000
Walden, Greg (R-OR) House $2,000
Walker, Mark (R-NC) House $2,000
Walker, Scott (R) Pres $1,750
Walorski, Jackie (R-IN) House $2,000
Walters, Mimi (R-CA) House $2,000
Walz, Tim (D-MN) House $2,000
Ward, Kelli (R-AZ) Senate $500
Weber, Randy (R-TX) House $1,000
Webster, Daniel (R-FL) House $1,000
Wenstrup, Brad (R-OH) House $2,000
Westerman, Bruce (R-AR) House $1,000
Williams, Roger (R-TX) House $2,500
Wilson, Joe (R-SC) House $2,000
Wittman, Rob (R-VA) House $2,000
Womack, Steve (R-AR) House $1,500
Yoder, Kevin (R-KS) House $4,000
Yoho, Ted (R-FL) House $1,000
Young, David (R-IA) House $4,950
Young, Don (R-AK) House $6,950
Young, Todd (R-IN) House $5,950
Zeldin, Lee (R-NY) House $9,900
Zinke, Ryan K (R-MT) House $4,000

**Note that there are 5 House democrats on this list … the other 283 are republicans.

Guns do not belong in schools.  Period.  Children should not shoot guns.  Period.

On a related note, I also read yesterday that Trump’s budget proposal cuts $25 million from programs to improve school safety, climate, and responding to violence.  I bet the NRA’s budget, however, has several million to teach children to shoot guns.  Think about it.

Saturday Surprise — Armchair Traveler

Weekend … it’s finally here … the WEEKEND!  That moment you have all been waiting for for a lonnnngggg five days has finally arrived!  So, do you guys have big plans for the weekend, or just planning to hang out and relax, maybe paint the kitchen?  Me, I will be watching them knock a few out of the park at the Super Bowl.  What?  That was last weekend?  Oh drat.  I can’t believe I missed it for the 25th year in a row!  So, who won, the Mets or the Cowboys?  What?  Really?  Okay, well … moving right along here, what would you like to do with our short time together today?  Are you up for a bit of traveling?  Great!  Then grab a seat, fasten your seatbelt, and let us travel in our armchairs to … India!

paragraph divider

I first happened upon a picture of the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab, India, a few weeks ago, but as I was on some other mission at that time, I bookmarked it and promptly forgot about it.  Tonight, I happened upon it again and thought it might make an interesting point of origin for our weekend jaunt.

Shri Harmandir Sahib, known worldwide as the Golden Temple, was built starting in 1581, and completed in 1589.  It is a Sikh temple and has been rebuilt numerous times, after being destroyed, also numerous times, by Muslims invading from Afghanistan.  It is built around a man-made pool, and when it was destroyed in 1757, and then again in 1762, by an army led by Ahmad Shah Abdali, they filled the pool with garbage!  Not very nice, eh? It was, once again, rebuilt by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, using marble and copper in 1809, then was overlaid with gold foil in 1830. This has to be getting expensive, I should think!

golden temple 2.jpgIn the early 1980s, the temple became a center of conflict between the Indian government led by Indira Gandhi, some Sikh groups and a militant movement led by Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale seeking to create a new nation named Khalistan. In 1984, Gandhi sent in the Indian Army as part of Operation Blue Star, leading to deaths of over 1,000 militants, soldiers and civilians, as well as causing much damage to the temple and the destruction of Akal Takht. The temple complex was rebuilt again after the 1984 damage.  I must say, they are persistent!

The Golden Temple is an open house of worship for all men and women, from all walks of life and faith.  I like that, but I also like the fact that every single day, they provide more than 50,000 free meals to anyone … that’s anyone … who needs a meal.

DCF 1.0There is a huge communal kitchen and volunteers come in every day to help prepare the meal and clean up afterward. Lentils are cooked in huge vats, on open fires, that take two people with large wooden paddles, to stir. The kitchen uses 12,000 kilograms of flour, 1,600 kilograms of pulses (lentils), 1,600 kilograms of vegetables, and 1,400 kilograms of rice per day. About 25 percent of the food is donated.

Did you enjoy your visit?  Where to next, friends?  I thought to visit a bit more of India, but … let us head over to London, for there is something going on there with the hedgehogs …


Britain’s hedgehogs, for all their iconic cuteness, have fallen on prickly times. The hedgehog population has been on the decline, and the people want them back!

hedgehog

In the 1950s, some estimates placed the British hedgehog population at 30 million. A 1995 study put the number closer to 1.5 million across England, Scotland, and Wales. Over the last two decades,  hedgehogs have declined by roughly fifty percent in the countryside and by a third in urban enclaves. Now, as cute as hedgehogs may be, here in the U.S., people go to all sorts of machinations to keep critters such as hedgehogs out of urban areas, for they damage yards, eat flowers, and so on.

Michel Birkenwald, a London jeweler, has become one of London’s most enthusiastic engineers of infrastructure for animals. He founded and self-financed Barnes Hedgehogs around four years ago. The group drills the holes in fences and other obstacles for free to provide hedgehog access, and generally advocates for the welfare of wild hedgehogs. Once Birkenwald has crafted a passage, he usually affixes a sign reading “Hedgehog Highway,” with the creature’s spiky silhouette.

hedgehog highway signIt seems that the decline is, at least in part, due to urbanization, thus a decline in hedgerows, the wild shrubbery that has been replaced by buildings, roads, etc.

While Birkenwald is drilling holes in fences and other obstacles to allow hedgehogs safe passage around town, there is yet another hedgehog advocacy group, Hedgehog Street.

hedgehog-street.pngApparently all these efforts are working, for a report released this month indicates that the rate of decline is slowing.  Hooray for the hedgehogs!  I cannot believe I am sitting here at 1:00 in the morning writing about hedgehogs!  Have I finally lost my bloomin’ mind?Sonic


And one final stop on Filosofa’s Saturday Surprise train … let’s head to Canada where there is a rare phenomenon called ‘snow rollers’.

A rare wind is blowing up cylindrical “snow rollers”—a phenomenon that occurs only when wind, snow, and moisture synchronize in a rare confluence of conditions.

When the wind is strong—but not too strong—and the snow is light—but not too light—and sticky, a steady wind can roll snow into neat, spiral cylinders. They dot a field of snow like icy bales of hay. They start small but can grow around two feet in diameter.

snow rollers-3Snow rollers can be kind of cute as they skate across a field—but just imagine if you didn’t know anything about these and came across a field of mysterious cylinders. Aliens? Nope, just nature.

snow rollers 2Well, my opinion, for whatever it’s worth, is that my Canadian friends can keep their snow rollers, for I am ready for spring, for wildflowers and bumblebees, for brisk morning walks and grilling out in the evening.

flower-bee.jpg

Well, friends, I know you all have fun things to do this weekend and you’re eager to get to them, and I certainly do appreciate you popping over to spend a few minutes with me.  What better way to start the weekend than with a song, yes?  Have a wonderful weekend, keep warm and safe.  Hugs ‘n love from Filosofa!

Gotta love Stevie Wonder, yes?

A Few Features From Filosofa on Friday

Mind bounce.  It is a distraction when my mind will not settle in and focus on one thing, but insists on bonking and blipping all over the place, rather like a ping pong ball on speed!  Mind bounce is a terrible thing to waste.  And so, today I simply let it bounce wherever it wished, and here is what we came up with.

seperator 2

Hats Off To Our Friends To The North …

No doubt about it, Canada has class. First off, they have Justin Trudeau, while we have … well, you know.  But what prompted this statement was the Pride House hosted by our friends to the North while at the Winter Olympics in South Korea.  It is the first Pride House in the world to be embraced by a national Olympic Committee, and Canada deserves a two thumbs-up for this show of inclusion.

PrideThe idea for this Pride House, organized in collaboration with South Korean activists, is based on the tradition of Olympic delegations opening hospitality houses to showcase their home nations’ culture and history and welcome fans. Rather than focusing on a particular nationality or team, the Pride House welcomes all.

“The mission of Pride House, is to create a place where people can go and watch games, and hang out and eat food and all that — sort of experience the games in a safe and welcoming way.”

The welcome sign at the entrance to the Pride House reads …

“This is your house no matter who you are or where you come from. You are at home, regardless of your sex, sexual orientation, race, marital or family status, gender identity or expression, sex characteristics, creed, age, color, disability, political or religious belief. Be proud. Be you. Be Olympic!”

Excuse me … all you people in the U.S. who are worried about what bathroom others use?  All you people in the U.S. who claim that marriage must be only between one man and one woman in order to be legitimate?  Listen up … go back and re-read that welcome sign again … and again … and again until you understand what it is saying.  It is saying that everyone … EVERYONE … is welcome here.  Get that?

pride-2.pngHats off to Canada and Canadians!  We here in the U.S. need some lessons from you guys … and I ask one more time … could we trade you-know-who for your Mr. Trudeau???  I’ll throw in some extras, like Kellyanne and Sarah!


Too Little, Too Late, Ronald McDonald!

The headline read …

McDonald’s Commits To More Balanced Happy Meals By 2022

McDonald’s announced its goal to market more balanced kids meals around the globe.  And … they are going to do this marvelous thing in just over four years!  Let us all give them a round of applause … NOT!

happy mealThe company says by the end of 2022, at least 50 percent or more of the kids meal options listed on menus will meet new global Happy Meal nutrition criteria: Meals will have 600 calories or less; no more than 10 percent of calories from saturated fat; no more than 650 mg sodium; and no more than 10 percent of calories from added sugar.

obese fat boy child eat chicken cheese hamburgerNow, I hate to tell you this, Ronald McDonald, but those standards aren’t going to earn you any applause from those of us who really do try to eat healthy.  650 mg sodium???  You have got to be kidding me!  I get less sodium from the dish of pretzels I just ate!  And 600 calories???  That is more than half of what I consume in a given day!

And could somebody explain to me why it takes over four years to make healthier food???  I do it every day, for Pete’s sake!

Let’s look at one of the things they plan to do:

According to the article I read in NPR  “they will downsize the size of the fries served with the six-piece Chicken McNugget Happy Meal. Currently it comes with a standard small fry, but going forward this will change to a smaller kiddie size.”  Two points here:  1) why does it take four years or more to just put a few less fries in the meal?  It isn’t rocket science, folks!; 2) will they also reduce the price based on having fewer fries in the meal?  No sir, I’m betting that if anything, the price will rise, as they had to hire some analyst to come in and tell them just how many fries constitute a ‘healthier’ meal!

ronald mcdonaldThe real problem, I suspect, is that U.S. parents don’t want healthier Happy Meals.  Remember when First Lady Michelle Obama tried to implement healthier choices in school lunches?  You would have thought she was proposing to put poisoned apples in every child’s lunch, the way parents went berserk!  Nope, U.S. mums really like shoving all that fat, salt and sugar down their kids’ gullets, and then saying, “Oh look how little Johnny has grown!”  Yeah, outward.

Give me the job, and I can make those Happy Meals both healthier and tastier within one month … not the 46-month goal set by the corporate powers-that-be. Nice try, Ronald, but no thumbs-up for you, no hats off, no round of applause.  Too little, too late.


 Downloadable WHAT???

Another eye-catching headline …

The Defense Dept. Is Researching How To Download Skills To Our Brain

DARPA, [Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency], the research arm of the Pentagon, is investigating ways to download skills directly into the human brain, similar to how a computer downloads a program from the internet.

For instance, imagine downloading a foreign language and then being able to speak that same language immediately, with a proper dialect and native delivery. This would be a major leap forward in education.

brain-computerOkay, now I can see where this could come in very handy, but … no.  Just no.  This is too much.  You can read more about it here … it makes for interesting reading, but … count me out.

seperator 2

And thus wraps up the snippets from this bouncing mind, and I will now go mop some floors while you go read some saner blog posts!  Have a great weekend, my friends!

bounce ball

A Tribute to the Victims …

Wednesday’s tragic mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, has left a dark cloud over this nation.  While I will have more to say about how avoidable this could have been, and how sad that we, as a nation, place the value of our steel toys above the lives of our children, for today I find it more appropriate to honour the victims.  I cannot possibly do any better job than ThinkProgress has done with their tribute that includes pictures of 14 of the 17 victims, as well as a brief bio and some comments from friends.  And so with that, I ask you to please click the link below to learn a little bit about each victim in order to make this senseless tragedy a bit more personal, a bit more real.  And please keep the community and the families of these victims, many of them children, in your hearts and thoughts.

The Victims of the Parkland Shooting

Parkland 2