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Posts Tagged ‘Miscellaneous’

BEAVERTON, OREGON — A car thief who discovered a toddler in the back seat of the vehicle returned the child to the mother, chastised her for leaving the child unattended, and took off again with the car.

According to police, the woman went inside a meat market, leaving her four-year-old in the car with the engine running and the vehicle unlocked. While she was in the market, a young white male stole the car.

When the thief saw the toddler in the back seat, he immediately returned to the market. A police officer said, “He actually lectured the mother for leaving the child in the car and threatened to call the police on her.”

The vehicle was found later in Portland. Police are still searching for the thief.

CINCINNATI, OHIO — An Ohio man marked Lent by giving up solid foods and getting most of his nourishment from beer.

Lent is an observance among Christians leading up to Easter Sunday, during which believers pray, repent, and perform acts of denial and simple living.

Del Hall of Cincinnati said his Lent diet consisted only of beer, water, black coffee, and herbal tea. He said he drank three to five beers per day.

Hall completed Lent beer diets in 2019 and 2020 and lost about 50 pounds each time. He also said his blood pressure and cholesterol levels improved.

“The human body is an amazing thing,” Hall said. “We’re used to going through life as hunter-gatherers — feast and famine. The problem is we don’t go through the famine anymore.”

SAND LAKE, MICHIGAN — Milo, a springer spaniel who wandered away from home, was found 44 days later and 20 miles away at the bottom of an abandoned grain silo.

A Sand Lake resident told Kent County animal control officers he heard barking and feared a dog had fallen into the old silo. The officers responded and found Milo inside the 10-foot-deep structure.

The officers used a rope to lasso Milo and haul him to safety.

During his ordeal, Milo endured snow storms and frigid temperatures, and he suffered significant weight loss and dehydration. He was reunited with his family and has no permanent injuries.

Milo in the silo.

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The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

John Kenneth Galbraith

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It is not what we profess, but what we practice that gives us integrity.

Francis Bacon

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When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade without further introduction.

Mark Twain

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Social media gives legions of idiots the right to speak when they once only spoke at a bar after a glass of wine, without harming the community. Then they were quickly silenced, but now they have the same right to speak as a Nobel Prize winner. It’s the invasion of the idiots.

Umberto Eco

Galbraith

Eco

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Tama the Station Master

In January 2007, the manager at the railway station in Kinokawa, Japan, gave the title of Station Master to his cat Tama, with the primary duty of greeting passengers.

At the time, ridership was down. The station was operating with reduced staff, and Wakayama Railway had considered closing the operation. But after Tama was appointed, ridership increased. The company joyfully stepped in, creating a gold name tag for Tama’s collar and designing a special station master’s hat for her.

Thereafter, Tama appeared in the news regularly, usually when she received a promotion or award. Tourists flocked to see her. A ticket booth in the station was converted into her office.

In 2010, Tama’s mother Miiko and sister Chibi were named Assistant Station Masters. In 2012, a deputy named Nitama (“Second Tama”), was appointed.

Tama died in 2015 and was succeeded by Nitama, who remains in office today.

According to a study, Tama generated about one billion yen for the local economy. A newspaper pointed out that she was the only female in a managerial position at Wakayama Railway.

The White Bridge

In 1926 in my adopted town of Jefferson, Georgia, a concrete arch bridge was built across Curry Creek, replacing an old wooden covered bridge. At the time, reinforced concrete was the latest thing in bridges — practical, cheap, and versatile.

Curry Creek Bridge is its official name, but, as I learned when I moved to Jefferson in 2006, the locals call it the White Bridge. I had to accept that description on faith, because the bridge needed a serious cleaning. Like most aging concrete bridges, it was an unsightly, moldy gray. It was, like, the Ugly Bridge.

Finally, late last year, the Highway Department gave the bridge some attention. Structural repairs were made, and the entire thing was sandblasted and stripped of accumulated grime.

When the project was completed and the tarps removed, I drove downtown to see the White Bridge restored to its former glory.

Alas, nine decades of exposure to the elements had taken a toll. Yes, the bridge looks much better, but it isn’t what you’d call white. It’s more the color of a banana (the fruit, not the peel). Or eggnog. Or mayonnaise.

I guess the Mayonnaise Bridge is better than the Ugly Bridge.

Seven Wonders

The ancient Greeks were big on the number seven. To them, seven somehow represented perfection and held the promise of personal enrichment (lucky seven). Hence, when some Greek deep thinkers decided to make a list of the wonders of the world, the list was bound to be seven wonders long.

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World are/were the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Colossus of Rhodes, the Lighthouse of Alexandria, and the statue of Zeus at Olympia.

All seven are located in the Mediterranean region, the back yard of the Greeks. The rest of the world? Meh.

The list isn’t official or binding in any way, of course, and over the centuries, it has been modified regularly. Frequent additions were the Roman Colosseum, Stonehenge, the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, etc.

In 1997, in an interesting twist, CNN listed the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Named were the Aurora Borealis (northern lights), Grand Canyon, the Great Barrier Reef, Mount Everest, Victoria Falls, Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro Harbor, and the Paricutin volcano in Mexico.

Regarding the last two: the harbor at Rio de Janeiro is the world’s largest natural harbor. It has 130 islands and is ringed by mountains. Paricutin volcano erupted unexpectedly in 1943 in a farmer’s field, grew to 1,400 feet tall, and went dormant in 1952, leaving a cinder cone that is now a popular tourist attraction.

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

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The Questions…

1. During WWII, how were the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence safeguarded?

2. What company owns, among other brands, Lamborghini, Audi, Porsche, Bentley, Bugatti, and Ducati?

3. By what name is the painting “La Gioconda” better known?

4. How long is an eon?

5. In parts of Europe, and in many countries that once were part of the British Empire, what is the day after Christmas called?

The Answers…

1. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the documents were moved to the US Bullion Depository at Fort Knox, Kentucky. After the D-Day landings in 1944, they were returned to Washington, DC.

2. Volkswagen AG.

3. The Mona Lisa. The painting by Leonardo da Vinci is believed to be a portrait of Lisa Gherardini, an Italian noblewoman whose husband, rich businessman Francesco del Giocondo, was a big shot in the Silk Guild.

4. In common usage, an eon usually is an indefinite, very long period of time. In astronomy and geology, however, it is one billion years.

5. “Boxing Day,” which originated eons ago in the UK. It probably is connected to an old tradition of giving gifts to people working service jobs or to the poor. Boxing may refer to a Christmas box given to the needy or to church donation boxes.

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The London new wave band The Dream Academy was formed in the mid-1980s, intending to make their mark using uncommon instruments and sounds. One item on their list was to create a song with an African-style chorus.

They did it in the band’s first, biggest, and only real hit, “Life in a Northern Town.”

Nick Laird-Clowes wrote the lyrics after working in the port city of Newcastle, where many workers were left unemployed when the shipyards closed down. The melancholy feel of the song reflects how the lives of the locals were affected.

The Dream Academy broke up in 1991, but still tours now and then.

The Dream Academy: Kate St. John, Nick Laird-Clowes, and Gilbert Gabriel.

Life In A Northern Town

By The Dream Academy, 1985
Written by Nick Laird-Clowes and Gilbert Gabriel

The Salvation Army band played.
And the children drunk lemonade.
And the morning lasted all day, all day,
And through an open window came,
Like Sinatra in a younger day,
Pushing the town away. Oh.

Hey-oh-ma-ma-ma
Dee-dew-dee-ny-ya
Hey-oh-ma-ma-ma
Hey-ya
Life in a northern town.
Hey-ma-ma-ma-ma

They sat on the stony ground,
And he took a cigarette out,
And everyone else came down to listen.
He said “In winter 1963,
It felt like the world would freeze
With John F. Kennedy
And The Beatles.”
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Hey-oh-ma-ma-ma
Dee-dew-dee-ny-ya
Hey-oh-ma-ma-ma
Hey-ya
Life in a northern town.
Hey-ma-ma-ma-ma
Hey-oh-ma-ma-ma
Dee-dew-dee-ny-ya
Hey-oh-ma-ma-ma
Hey-ya
All the work shut down.

The evening turned to rain,
Watched the water roll down the drain,
As we followed him down to the station.
And though he never would wave goodbye,
You could see it written in his eyes
As the train rolled out of sight.
Bye-bye.

Hey-oh-ma-ma-ma
Dee-dew-dee-ny-ya
Hey-oh-ma-ma-ma
Hey-ya
Life in a northern town.

Hey-ma-ma-ma-ma
Hey-oh-ma-ma-ma
Dee-dew-dee-ny-ya
Hey-oh-ma-ma-ma
Hey-ya
Life in a northern town.

Hey-ma-ma-ma-ma
Hey-oh-ma-ma-ma
Dee-dew-dee-ny-ya
Hey-oh-ma-ma-ma
Hey-ya
Life in a northern town.

Hey-ma-ma-ma-ma
Hey-oh-ma-ma-ma
Dee-dew-dee-ny-ya
Hey-oh-ma-ma-ma
Hey-ya

Hey-ma-ma-ma-ma
Take it easy on yourself
Hey-oh-ma-ma-ma
Dee-dew-dee-ny-ya
Hey-oh-ma-ma-ma
Hey-ya

Hey-ma-ma-ma-ma
Take it easy on yourself
Hey-oh-ma-ma-ma
Dee-dew-dee-ny-ya
Hey-oh-ma-ma-ma
Hey-ya

https://rockysmith.files.wordpress.com/2021/01/life-in-a-northern-town.mp3

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More “Useless Facts for Inquiring Minds.”

● The national parliament of Iceland is the oldest governing assembly in the world. It dates back to 930 AD, when Viking chieftains gathered in an open field to discuss mutual issues. The field was the site of Icelandic government meetings until 1798, when it was moved to Reykjavik and, finally, indoors.

● In 2007, actor Nicolas Cage won an auction for a dinosaur skull, bidding against, among others, Leonardo DiCaprio. Cage paid $276,000 for the skull. A few years later, evidence surfaced that the skull had been stolen from Mongolia, and Cage had to return it. He didn’t get his $276,000 back.

● The letter e is used three times and pronounced three different ways in the word Mercedes.

● In 2005, remains were found in South Dakota of an extra-large cousin of the Velociraptor popularized by the Jurassic Park films. The new cousin, Dakotaraptor, was about 18 feet long and weighed 500 or so pounds. The largest known cousin so far is Utahraptor at about 23 feet long and 600 pounds.

FYI, Velociraptors actually were about the size of a turkey. Spielberg knew that, but he really liked the name Velociraptor.

● Martin Luther King, Jr. was born Michael King, Jr. When he was five, his father changed both of their names to honor Martin Luther, the German theologian who started the Protestant Church in the days of Columbus.

● In 1920, the “American Professional Football Association” was established in Canton, Ohio. Five of the 16 original teams were based in Cleveland. In 1922, the group changed its name to the “National Football League.”

● Pistachio nuts are especially dry and high in fat content — so much so that when the nuts are transported, the temperature, humidity, and air pressure must be carefully controlled to prevent them from over-heating and exploding.

● The Clowns’ Gallery-Museum, a display of clown costumes, memorabilia, and reference material, was founded in 1959 in the basement of Holy Trinity Church in London. Due to the growth of the collection, the museum opened a second location in Somerset in 2007.

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Government is necessary, not because man is naturally bad, but because man is by nature more individualistic than social.

Thomas Hobbes

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Those who fear the facts will forever try to discredit the fact-finders.

Denis Diderot

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Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.

Giordano Bruno

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Bank robbery is an initiative of amateurs. True professionals establish a bank.

Bertolt Brecht

Hobbes

Brecht

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The Questions…

1. According to power companies, what is the most frequent cause of power outages on the electrical grid?

2. Who was the first actor to portray James Bond? (Hint: it was not Sean Connery in “Dr. No” in 1962.)

3. What is a moonbow?

4. What’s the difference between apes and monkeys?

5. What neat trick does the State of Ohio use to identify motorists who have been cited more than once for DUI?

The Answers…

1. Squirrels — soon to be deceased squirrels — chewing through insulation.

2. American actor Barry Nelson played Bond in a live TV drama in 1954. The program was an adaptation of “Casino Real” in which Bond was an American spy, not British.

3. A rainbow that occurs at night, often around a waterfall and in the presence of mist. They are difficult to see unless the moon is bright.

4. Apes and monkeys are primates, like you, but apes (gorillas, chimps, orangutans, and gibbons) are higher on the evolutionary scale and thus more intelligent. Whereas monkeys prefer the safety of the treetops, apes spend as much time on the ground as in trees. Apes are larger than monkeys. Monkeys have tails, and apes do not.

5. Repeat DUI offenders are issued a yellow license plate with red characters instead of the standard Ohio plate, which is red, white, and blue. The special plates are a way for police to identify the offenders and, of course, are a form of public shaming.

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