Dear Brandeis University:
Here are some reasons you should invite me:
1. I have a cap and gown that have been described as cool or sexy (click here to see a photo). [apparently that link no longer works. see photo below]
2. I look very professional and academic with my gray beard and glasses.
3. I have considerable experience listening to bad commencement addresses, so I know what not to do or say.
4. I am an award-winning professor, with considerable acting and speaking experience.
5. I promise not to cuss (unless you want me to).
There are some additional points made in that original posting that do not apply in this case. For example, I would NOT promise to be silent about the Ayaan Hirsi Ali uninvitation. And I would seriously criticize those who favoured that uninvitation. But Brandeis, if you can live with this understanding, I'm your man.
I love marshmallows. I especially like them after I've opened the bag to let them sit and get hard and stale for 4-6 months. They are a special treat then.
But I'm really skeptical about this:
Update: However, be sure to see the comment and check out the link there. And see this from Wikipaedia. Thanks to MA for the additional info:
Marshmallow probably came first into being as a medicinal substance, since the mucilaginous extracts come from the root of the marshmallow plant, Althaea officinalis, which were used as a remedy for sore throats. Concoctions of other parts of the marshmallow plant had medical purposes as well. The root has been used since Egyptian antiquity in a honey-sweetened confection useful in the treatment of sore throat. The later French version of the recipe, called pâte de guimauve (or "guimauve" for short), included an egg whitemeringue and was often flavored with rose water.
The use of marshmallow to make a sweet dates back to ancient Egypt, where the recipe called for extracting sap from the plant and mixing it with nuts and honey. Another pre-modern recipe uses the pith of the marshmallow plant, rather than the sap. The stem was peeled back to reveal the soft and spongy pith, which was boiled in sugar syrup and dried to produce a soft, chewy confection. Confectioners in early 19th century France made the innovation of whipping up the marshmallow sap and sweetening it, to make a confection similar to modern marshmallow. The confection was made locally, however, by the owners of small sweet shops. They would extract the sap from the mallow plant's root, and whip it themselves. The candy was very popular, but its manufacture was labour-intensive. In the late 19th century, French manufacturers thought of using egg whites or gelatin, combined with modified corn starch, to create the chewy base. This avoided the labour-intensive extraction process, but it did require industrial methods to combine the gelatin and corn starch in the right way.
And the lesson many people will learn is, "Don't post videos and pictures of yourself doing stupid things to social media," with which I agree, of course; but I hope at least some people will think twice before even doing them.
According to the LA Times, a Russian consumer oversight agency reported that Trade House Cheese, a Siberian dairy plant about 1,600 miles east of Moscow, was temporarily shuttered Friday after it was found some of the employees had bathed in the milk.
The plant was closed by regional authorities for 90 days for an urgent inspection due to complaints after photos and a video of the pasteurized party were uploaded to a Russian social network.
The herd of adult males are seen ringing in the new year, undressed and relaxing in a giant container of milk. There’s also a video of the guys, again in their skivvies, making cheese. Trade House Cheese’s secret ingredient? Russian man-sweat. It gives it a very distinct flavor.
I don't ordinarily post or link to YouTube videos anywhere: not here, in email, or on Facebook. Yet this is the second one I've posted to the blog today. And (horrors) I don't always Rick Mercer's humour.
But this video is hilarious and worth the minute and a half it takes to watch it. It very clearly explains why, beginning in late February or early March, Environment Canada always says the temperature will rise above freezing to +1C on the 7th day of the seven-day forecast [via RedHen and MsEclectic].
I love the line that "Pretty much everything beyond five days is like throwing darts." That line reveals a clear, intuitive understanding of confidence intervals. See this, for example (including the comments!):
There were NO geese on the lawn yesterday and there were none today. Despite the mounting casualties to the Regency Towers Attack Force (tm), we declare victory!
I expect the geese have learned their lesson; and now that plentiful other grassy fields are more readily accessible, the geese have given up the good fight for this valuable patch.
Even during the last battle on Wednesday and again on Thursday, not many braved the lawn; most of them stayed on the slope or in the park across the street.
All hail the mighty Regency Towers Attack Force (tm). It was a long, arduous struggle against the hungry hoards. Purple hearts and other medals of distinguished service will soon be awarded to the persons who suffered in and contributed to this joyous victory.
Kelly McDonald is one of the smartest people I know. He is also amazingly energetic and determined. One of the many things he does is produce, direct, and participate in radio and television shows. He is also well-known for his stage theatre work in London, Ontario.
This evening and several more times over the next week or so Kelly has a show about the Toronto Blue Jays on Rogers TV [channel 888 in London and Toronto, update: it is the Accessible Channel produced by Accessible Media]. I think it might be on at 8pm in London with the title "Sports Access". It might also be on at 4pm today in Toronto. He spent some time in Florida doing the interviews for the show.
Kelly is nearly totally blind. His production company is called Out of Sight Productions, which tries to use vision-impaired actors in much of its work. His company is producting "Academia Nuts" for the London Fringe Festival in June. Three of the five actors in it are vision-impaired. I'm one of the other two and happy to be a part of the show.
|Blog | Josh Voorhees
The Army's Top Sexual Assault Lawyer Accused of Sexual Assault—at a Sexual Assault Legal Conference
Thursday, March 06, 2014, at 1:53 PM EST
|Future Tense | Tyler Lopez
U.K.’s “War on Porn” Leader Arrested on Allegations Related to Child Porn
Thursday, March 06, 2014, at 4:57 PM EST
I am quite certain that in grade school we used to sing a song that went something like this:
Susie, little Susie, now what is the news?
The geese are going barefoot because they've no shoes.
The cobbler has leather but no last to use.
Who will make the goslings a pair of red shoes?
But I cannot find it on the internet with that last line. All the links that appear when I google any of the lines from the song WITH quotation marks have no results or have a different last line.
Too bad. I distinctly remember the last line. The imagery of gosslings walking around with red shoes always tickled me. Does anyone else remember having learned this song with that last line?
Which brings me to an update about the Goose Patrol.
Six geese showed up at about 9:15 this morning. I chased them down the hill, across the street, and into the park where finally I persuaded them to fly away. We've had none since then.
Helping matters is that the temperature is above freezing now and is forecast to stay above freezing, even overnight, for the next 48 hours or so. The melting of the snow will open many more venues on which the geese will be able to dine in comfort, away from me.
Update: seven geese showed up about 11:30 EDT but were soon hurried on their way.
We seem to have a goose problem on our condo lawn this spring.
One of our neighbours took this photo a week or so ago:
One of the reasons the geese have been attracted to the lawn is that for more than a week there was snow almost everywhere else in the area, and the heat from the underground parking had melted the snow here, providing the geese with easy access to a large open stretch of grass.
Another reason is that our building is just across the street from a small park by the river. Hundreds, if not thousands, of geese seem to spend the winter on or near the river instead of flying south.
A third reason the geese have been hanging out on the condo lawn is that some unthinking resident(s) thought it was nice or cute or something to throw food out to the geese. A memo has been circulated asking people not to do that anymore.
Having geese on the lawn is something new here, I think. At least I don't remember having seen geese on the lawn until this spring.
Geese on a lawn, especially when there are hundreds of them, leave a LOT of goose poop, tear up the lawn, and generally make a mess of things. And after they are entrenched in an area, it is difficult to get them to move.... especially once they start nesting. So I have taken it upon myself to try to discourage them from staying.
I looked into it a bit and discovered from this source that one effective way to get rid of the geese is to hector/haze/harass them -- chase them away anytime they come around; don't let them get settled in.
I did that once or twice a day for a couple of days, but they kept coming back. And so on Friday I began a concerted effort. Anytime I saw them, even only a few of them, I went down to the lawn and chased them away. By the end of the day, I had gone down to chase them 10 different times that I can remember. They were persistent buggers, but by mid-afternoon, they seemed to have settled for staying in the park across the street.
Alas, the geese returned in the late afternoon. I was able to chase them off the lawn and down the street several times, but I couldn't get them to fly away, and so, of course, they returned. I persisted, though, and made sure they were gone before sundown.
On Saturday, at first we didn't have more than a few geese at a time, and I was right on the spot to chase them away. Their numbers were greatly diminished, and chasing them away was much easier. I was pretty confident. I thought I saw the light at the end of the tunnel [a phrase uttered by General Westmoreland about Vietnam and properly derided by those of us opposed to the war].
However, by mid-afternoon, the recalcitrants had returned, albeit on the far south end of the lawn. I could move them off the lawn and down the block, but they wouldn't fly away. I got 'em all to fly away on the second foray against them, though, half an hour later.
At their peak on Friday, the flock was about 150 or more. The most persistent bunch that day, though, seemed to be about 50-strong. Early Saturday, I don't think there were ever more than 10-12 of them; the mid-afternoon group was no larger than about 40.
This morning about 30 of the rotten buggers showed up while I was still in my pyjamas. I quickly dressed and went forth for the morning assault. They didn't expect me to chase them very far, I guess. They tried to settle on the downslope of the lawn, but I shooed them farther, and so they all squatted in the street.
I sensed they were just waiting for me to leave so they could return, but I didn't give up. I kept chasing them, halfway into the park. I couldn't get them to fly away, but I noticed that all but about 10 of them were gone from the park by the time I had returned to our unit on the 6th floor.
However, sure as shinola, within a half hour five of them had decided to try the lawn again. I went down and chased them, along with all 25 it turned out, back farther into the park.
As I was coming back into the building, I was greeted by a resident who smiled and asked me if I'd been out chasing birds again. It took me five minutes to catch onto the double entendre. I gather many of the residents here have enjoyed the "entertainment" I have provided.
It has been hard work, running at the geese and trying to scare them enough to get them to move (and preferably fly away). Fortunately my energy levels have been growing after a month of this. And I think I have had some limited success; the numbers seem to be diminishing.
Apparently my strategy of running at them, yelling and whistling, and waving my arms is an accepted and acceptable method of encouraging them to leave. From the US Humane Society [Via MA]:
Frightening noises work much better if the geese see a mobile threat such as people shooing them.
There is more from this site:
I wonder if maybe I could buzz the geese with a good-sized remote-control helicopter. I bought a remote-controlled helicopter at Christmas, but it isn't big enough to handle even a slight breeze of more than a couple of kmh. Maybe a bigger one would do the job, and I could just chase the geese while sitting on my balcony.
I don't know for sure, but perhaps my limited successes derive from wearing my scary, goose-chasing hat:
.... to be continued?
It is interesting to read how people from other countries perceive the United States and its culture(s). It gives us insight into ourselves, into the US, and into the cultures of the visitors.
Here are two examples [just to be clear, everything below other than my brief comments in brackets is from the two bulletted and linked items]:
With the help of Google Translate (and an ability to interpret completely random sentence structure), an American can find out what kind of advice the Japanese give to their own countrymen on how to handle the peculiarities of American culture. Here are some things tolook out for if you are visiting America from Japan. THERE IS A THING CALLED “DINNER PLATES.” AND WHAT GOES ON THEM IS A MIGHTY DISAPPOINTMENT.
2. BEWARE ROUGH AREAS WHERE THE CLOTHES DEMAND ATTENTION
3. BUT YOU’LL BE PLEASANTLY SURPRISED BY AMERICAN TRAFFIC PATTERNS.
4. NOBODY IS IMPRESSED BY HOW MUCH YOU CAN DRINK. IN FACT, SHAME ON YOU.
5. THEY HAVE FREE TIME ALL WEEK LONG!
6. KNOWING HOW TO USE SARCASM IS A MUST TO COMMUNICATE WITH AN AMERICAN.
7. THEY TEND TO HORSE LAUGH, EVEN THE WOMEN. IT’S HOW THEY SHOW THEY’RE HONEST.
8. YOU WON’T BE GETTING YOUR GROCERIES ANYTIME SOON, SO CHECKOUT LINES ARE A GREAT PLACE TO MAKE FRIENDS.
9. THEIR VENDING MACHINES ARE RIDICULOUSLY LIMITED AND DISHONEST.
10. BUT DARN IT ALL, THEY’RE SO WEIRDLY OPTIMISTIC YOU JUST CAN’T STAY IRRITATED AT THEM.
1. ON GIVING GIFTS TO AMERICANS
2. ON TALKING TO AMERICAN WOMEN
3. ON SOCIALIZING WITH AMERICANS
4. ON AMERICAN OPTIMISM
We just set another record for cold temperatures here in London, Ontario. The temperature got down to -26C overnight (nearly -20F), breaking a 125-year-old record.
We laugh and moan and worry about it here in London.
But look at the forecast facing my friends in Regina, SK for tonight: the forecast low is -41C (about -43F) and the forecast low windchill is -58C (which is like -73F or something). ARRRGGGHHHH.
Reminder: In temperatures, C = Canadian, F = Foreign.
When everything is over, how many "lucky" coins representing the countries of losing teams will people find under the ice/snow? All we ever hear about are the coins planted by winners.
When I saw the first few episodes of the initial series of "Sherlock", starring Benedict Cumberbatch, I was enthralled. He played a Sherlock who was consistently and honestly more over-the-top than Jeremy Brett's portrayals of Sherlock Holmes, but in a fun way that was almost believable. The shows made you want to believe, even though they were far-fetched. The use of computer technology seemed on the cutting edge, even if it wasn't or wasn't quite possible, and the relationships that evolved were interesting, intriguing, fun, and implausible but credible.
The plots were vaguely related to the plots of the originals by Conan Doyle, as implied by the titles. The acting was crisp, and the shows were massively more enjoyable than the movie(s) by Downey, Jr. We bought the blu-ray versions of both the first two series and were eagrely looking forward to Series 3.
What a disappointment. The acting is still crisp, but it is so over-the-top that it actually detracts from the plots, such as they are.
I don't blame the actors, though. I blame the writing and directing. The plots are thin, confused, and even less believable than those of the first two series. With Sherlock-3 we are now embroiled in stories that are more sci-fi fantasy than mysteries solvable by geniuses. And all the jumble of this-that-this-that blah blah blah that goes on seemingly every 5 minutes is, quite frankly, worse than annoying.
**** Spoiler Alert ****
How bad are the plots? As my younger son, Adam Smith Palmer, said about Episode 3-3, when Sherlock couldn't out-think the villain, he shot the person.
Well, isn't that a stunning triumph of wit, genius, and brilliance over brute force.
I have noticed that many people (especially hockey coaches) at the Olympics are wearing neckties. There's a special bonus prize for the first reader who spots a verifiable wearing of a necktie worn by anyone at the Olympics tied in either the Eldredge or the half-Eldredge knot. My hope is it isn't Putin.
Last month I posted a bunch of Canadianisms including this one:
- Robertson-head screws. I had never seen them in the US. They are clearly superior to anything else, and why they haven't been adopted in the US is a big puzzle (and, no, please don't invoke network effects; the costs of change are minor relative to the benefits. Screwdriver bits are cheap.).
That paragraph in the posting prompted some discussion in the comments section.
Wouldn't you know it. Yesterday I was helping my son, Adam Smith Palmer (who lives in Texas), assemble a tumbling composter and sure as shootin', the screws included with the product were combination slot-Robertson screws. He had a couple of those neato screwdriver combos from Home Hardware in Canada, which include Robertson bits (of course) and made the job MUCH easier.
My younger son, Adam Smith Palmer, and I took a few runs at tying the Eldredge Knot in some neckties while I have been visiting him in Houston. Here are a couple of our recent results.
A couple of notes about the knot.
When I first tried the knot, I quit halfway through. That knot, which is probably called a half-Eldredge, is quite decent-looking, as you can see from this (posted by a friend on Facebook)
I rather like the knot with a slightly thicker material, which shows off the lines a bit more.
But I still should work on getting the latter parts of the knot lined up better. More like this:
Addendum: Note that I have finally learned the correct spelling of the name of the knot: it is an Eldredge Knot.
I recently saw a link to a collection of town signs that are/were, to say the least, unusual. One that caught my eye was this one, for the town of Nevada, Iowa:
Yes there really is a town in Iowa called Nevada. However, it is pronounced 'ne VAY dah'. It's about 10 miles east of Ames, Iowa, where I did my graduate work, and it is also the county seat. Way back, it also was the only place in the county where one could buy wine or liquor [at the gubmnt-run liquor store].
One of the signs that is not on the list (but should be) is for Northfield, Minnesota, home of both St. Olaf and Carleton Colleges. Their sign:
Read the entire list to get the full impact:
As I wrote a few weeks ago, I have become intrigued by the Eldridge knot for neckties. My first attempt at tying the knot (with the help of my son, David Ricardo Palmer) was with a bizarre Christmas necktie:
Unfortunately, I have few, if any, neckties in my still too-large collection of ties that would show off the Eldridge know effectively.
So, off to Goodwill, where I bought two neckties that do the job nicely. I still need to work on perfecting the knot, but it is impressively unique. Here's my second attempt:
One of the articles I read about the Eldridge knot suggested using a tie that has a different pattern for the narrow end vs the wide end. So that was what I tried with this attempt:
The odd thing about this knot is that it is tied using the narrow end of the necktie, and there is only one end hanging down from the neck.
I still need practice with it, obviously, but I'm still intrigued by it.
I don't know. But according to this map, last year Atlas moving company moved more people out every province than they moved into it (exception NB where the totals were equal, and NF, where the difference was small).
At the same time, though, it looks as if the total inbound moves across all the US states out-numbered the outbound moves.
So, was all that difference due to people moving from Canada to the US? And if so, why? I mean, after all, the US didn't seem like all that promising a place to move last year. And did Saskatchewan and Alberta really have net out-migration?
Or is Atlas just an unusual moving company that doesn't reflect general tendencies?
In many ways I'm a traditionalist, and this becomes clear at Christmas time. We put up a smaller tree than we used to have, and so we have given away many of our Christmas decorations. But we have kept some, too, including some that have been in the family for several generations.
I realized as I was putting things away this year, that we wrap the ornaments in the same tissue that they were wrapped in nearly 50 years ago.
Notice the coloured Kleenex and the patterned Kleenex, both of which caused problems with sewage disposal systems and the environment and were subsequently banned. These must be long-forgotten relics by now!
And the box? Another blast from the past, nearly 50 years old. It's from Marshall Field & Company, acquired when I lived in Chicago in the mid-1960s:
I have some very serious questions about two different ads that I have been seeing regularly on television.
I tell people I'm under 90 but also am pleased to be immature young-at-heart, too. I didn't like all the choices available in this quiz. I suspect it was compiled by some smart aleck who has no idea what it's like be over 50 (and still under 90). But the first time I took it, the results said I'm 35. Yeah, sure.
So I took it again, giving slightly different answers for those questions where I'd been ambivalent. 35 again.
Third try, 27 going on 45 with this comment:
The only thing you like better than going to bed very early is proclaiming to the world that you are going to bed very early. Because you are old.
Overall pretty stupid.
Of course with the benefit of hindsight, I have some regrets about what I have done or not done with my life. But not all of the items on this list, "37 Things You'll Regret When You're Old," fit into that category. The article is quoted below, with my comments in square brackets after each item.
Let me emphasize that at the time I made the decisions I made, they seemed like the correct decisions. It's just that with more information and experience, there are some things I might have done differently.
- - - - - - - - -
1. Not traveling when you had the chance.
Traveling becomes infinitely harder the older you get, especially if you have a family and need to pay the way for three-plus people instead of just yourself.
[EE: Ms Eclectic did this. She traveled a LOT before we knew each other. We did some traveling together with the children, but as noted above, it is expensive. I have few regrets about postponing much of my major travel until I was older, and I have been grateful for the opportunities to combine work and travel at times.].
2. Not learning another language.
You’ll kick yourself when you realize you took three years of language in high school and remember none of it.
[EE: I studied three years of Latin in high school, took four courses in Russian as an undergrad, and then studied some conversational French 35 years ago. I remember practically none of what I studied. Maybe I would remember more if I had started with French in high school and stuck with it; or maybe I would remember more if I had worked at keeping up with one of them. But while I wish I knew another language, I would probably have forgotten most of it if I never used it. At this point, if I had it to do again, I'd study Spanish or French and keep working with them through intermittent immersion or travel.]
3. Staying in a bad relationship.
No one who ever gets out of a bad relationship looks back without wishing they made the move sooner.
[EE: Yup. One can have lots of regrets about relationships if you want to.]
4. Forgoing sunscreen.
Wrinkles, moles, and skin cancer can largely be avoided if you protect yourself.
[EE: maybe, but because I'm bald I wear a hat on most sunny days, and I don't much enjoy being sunburned.]
5. Missing the chance to see your favorite musicians.
“Nah, dude, I’ll catch Nirvana next time they come through town.” Facepalm.
[EE: Nope. I'd rather have the money for other things. I'm glad I saw the ones I did, but no regrets otherwise.]
6. Being scared to do things.
Looking back you’ll think, What was I so afraid of?
[EE: Again, mostly nope. Maybe some, though I can't think of any. And maybe my spirit of adventure led me to want to try too many things? Probably not that, either. However, I can readily imagine some people might have this regret.]
7. Failing to make physical fitness a priority.
Too many of us spend the physical peak of our lives on the couch. When you hit 40, 50, 60, and beyond, you’ll dream of what you could have done.
[EE: Maybe, but we've always stayed slightly active. I think I feel this about my life now more than I ever did about my earlier years. It's pretty frickn easy as a retiree to sit in my recliner all day, reading, surfing the net, etc.]
8. Letting yourself be defined by gender roles.
Few things are as sad as an old person saying, “Well, it just wasn’t done back then.”
[EE: I think I probably have fewer regrets along these lines than others might have. However the notion that the man is supposed to take care of everything has buggered up relationships at times.]
9. Not quitting a terrible job.
Look, you gotta pay the bills. But if you don’t make a plan to improve your situation, you might wake up one day having spent 40 years in hell.
[EE: yes and no. As many of you know, there were several very negative things about my job at The University of Western Ontario where I taught for 41 years. And, yes, I looked for and was offered other jobs. But they were never sufficiently attractive to uproot me. Even the joys I have had when visiting other places have not made me regret the decision to have stayed at UWO.]
10. Not trying harder in school.
It’s not just that your grades play a role in determining where you end up in life. Eventually you’ll realize how neat it was to get to spend all day learning, and wish you’d paid more attention.
[EE: Oh yes! however given my emotional immaturity as an undergrad, a better entry here might be "Not dropping out of school when I didn't belong there." Things worked out ok for me, but I expect that is only because I was very lucky. The advice part of this item is, "If you're not going to try harder, drop out."]
11. Not realizing how beautiful you were.
Too many of us spend our youth unhappy with the way we look, but the reality is, that’s when we’re our most beautiful.
[EE: Get serious. I know better than to believe this tripe.]
12. Being afraid to say “I love you.”
When you’re old, you won’t care if your love wasn’t returned — only that you made it known how you felt.
[EE: Rarely if ever a problem for me, though I think I need to make this clearer with my children and grandchildren more often.]
13. Not listening to your parents’ advice.
You don’t want to hear it when you’re young, but the infuriating truth is that most of what your parents say about life is true.
[EE: Hah! how about the flip side --- listening to your parents' advice too much. It took me far too long to develop a sense of independence.]
14. Spending your youth self-absorbed.
You’ll be embarrassed about it, frankly.
[EE: yes. And it applies to people of all ages from time to time.]
15. Caring too much about what other people think.
In 20 years you won’t give a darn about any of those people you once worried so much about.
[EE: yes. I was often what I called "other-directed" vs "inner-directed". ]
16. Supporting others’ dreams over your own.
Supporting others is a beautiful thing, but not when it means you never get to shine.
[EE: Possibly, but I don't know how much this might have applied to me. I certainly have no regrets about supporting "I have a dream..."]
17. Not moving on fast enough.
Old people look back at the long periods spent picking themselves off the ground as nothing but wasted time.
[EE: I expect this advice is "get over it". That's easier said than done. Healing, retraining, readjustment, etc. all take time; and being told to hurry up and "get over it/her/him" doesn't help much even if it is good advice. I have few regrets in this area, other than that the process took so long, but that's more of a regret about the process than about my decisions.]
18. Holding grudges, especially with those you love.
What’s the point of re-living the anger over and over?
[EE: Good advice. It probably applies equally to those you don't love. It's hard, though. The trouble is that just as you get over something, there's a new reminder.]
19. Not standing up for yourself.
Old people don’t take sh*t from anyone. Neither should you.
[EE: Yes! This is one area for sure about which I have some regrets. But mostly I am okay to have gone along with others when I did.]
20. Not volunteering enough.
OK, so you probably won’t regret not volunteering Hunger Games style, but nearing the end of one’s life without having helped to make the world a better place is a great source of sadness for many.
[EE: no regrets in this area. What is this item doing? trying to guilt people into doing more volunteer work?]
21. Neglecting your teeth.
Brush. Floss. Get regular checkups. It will all seem so maddeningly easy when you have dentures.
[EE: maybe this would be a regret if I had; but I have ok teeth. However, I've known too many seniors who gummed their food rather than get good-fitting dentures.]
22. Missing the chance to ask your grandparents questions before they die.
Most of us realize too late what an awesome resource grandparents are. They can explain everything you’ll ever wonder about where you came from, but only if you ask them in time.
[EE: Absolutely! And recording some sessions with them. And thinking about questions to ask before you see them the next time. I have SO many unanswered questions; and now they are unanswerable.]
23. Working too much.
No one looks back from their deathbed and wishes they spent more time at the office, but they do wish they spent more time with family, friends, and hobbies.
[EE: While this is a popular adage, I don't know how serious or strong it is in general. For me, maybe, but not much. Also, I have a friend who wants "Wishes he had spent more time at the office" engraved on his headstone.]
24. Not learning how to cook one awesome meal.
Knowing one drool-worthy meal will make all those dinner parties and celebrations that much more special.
[EE: Well, I think my cooking is awesome regardless of what others might think. In general, I see no reason to make this so important. Ordering in is a fine alternative.]
25. Not stopping enough to appreciate the moment.
Young people are constantly on the go, but stopping to take it all in now and again is a good thing.
26. Failing to finish what you start.
Failing to finish what you start.
“I had big dreams of becoming a nurse. I even signed up for the classes, but then…”
[EE: Yes, here, too. I've enjoyed dabbling in many things, but there are some I quit before even dabbling.]
27. Never mastering one awesome party trick.
You will go to hundreds, if not thousands, of parties in your life. Wouldn’t it be cool to be the life of them all?
[EE: I have no desire to go to a party where everyone shows off their one party trick. Maybe this is good advice for some people, but not me. A better party trick for me and many others would be to talk more seriously with others, not trying to be funny but ending up sounding stupid.]
28. Letting yourself be defined by cultural expectations.
Don’t let them tell you, “We don’t do that.”
[EE: not a biggie. There's nothing wrong with understanding what is acceptable what is unacceptable in the culture where you are living. There's also nothing wrong with the advice here, so long as you understand what you're doing.]
29. Refusing to let friendships run their course.
People grow apart. Clinging to what was, instead of acknowledging that things have changed, can be a source of ongoing agitation and sadness.
[EE: I have more regrets about not maintaining some friendships.]
30. Not playing with your kids enough.
When you’re old, you’ll realize your kid went from wanting to play with you to wanting you out of their room in the blink of an eye.
[EE: yes. but it becomes more complicated when marriages break down.]
31. Never taking a big risk (especially in love).
Knowing that you took a leap of faith at least once — even if you fell flat on your face — will be a great comfort when you’re old.
[EE: BS. I'm not against taking risks in love and life, but the way this is worded seems silly to me. I might say instead that taking risks has many unanticipated benefits and costs, .... but whaddya expect? I'm an economist.]
32. Not taking the time to develop contacts and network.
Networking may seem like a bunch of crap when you’re young, but later on it becomes clear that it’s how so many jobs are won.
[EE: This one bothers me. When people are clearly trying to "network", it is a huge turn-off. The benefits and joys of having good friends are immense, but the job and other networking benefits are more likely to follow from the friendships rather than from artificially contrived contacts.]
33. Worrying too much.
As Tom Petty sang, “Most things I worry about never happen anyway.”
[EE: yes, I've seen this problem at times. There's a difference, however, between unproductive "worrying" and preparing for contingencies. Thinking about what might happen and preparing for different possibilities seems reasonable most of the time.]
34. Getting caught up in needless drama.
Who needs it?
[EE: I guess some people love it. And I can think of times in my life when I might have been there.]
35. Not spending enough time with loved ones.
Our time with our loved ones is finite. Make it count.
[EE: who can disagree here. At least who can disagree without getting into minute discourses about the meaning of love, trade-offs, etc.]
36. Never performing in front of others.
This isn’t a regret for everyone, but many elderly people wish they knew — just once — what it was like to stand in front of a crowd and show off their talents.
[EE: obviously not a regret for me. And to balance it, I know some "elderly people" who wish they had never had to do this.]
37. Not being grateful sooner.
It can be hard to see in the beginning, but eventually it becomes clear that every moment on this earth — from the mundane to the amazing — is a gift that we’re all so incredibly lucky to share.
[EE: Yes! and by far the most important item on this list!]
We have acquired two different weather stations in the past few years, the type that transmit information from an outside sensor to an inside display. One, which is LCD and does not show humidity, tells us the outside temperature on one of our balconies is -23C
The second one, however, tells us that the outside temperature on the second balcony is LL.L
I am confident the LL.L means this device has reached its lower limit for temperatures.
Update: Before MA posted his comment and link, I had taken this photo of the specifications of our weather station but had not had time to post the photo:
Indeed the lower limit of the temperature range for the outdoor sensor is -20C. That day, London Ontario set a record low of -26C.
When we moved into our condo unit two and a half years ago, we knew we would want to replace the carpets that were probably more than 20 years old.
I suggested, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, that we just buy a bunch of "anti-fatigue" squares, the kind that fit together and come in bright colours. My younger son, Adam Smith Palmer, has some that they put out in the playroom for their daughters, which is what gave me the idea.
Seriously. They're cushioned, they're bright, and if you wreck a spot, they're easy and inexpensive to replace.
So last week, when we discovered that one of our custom-made hallway carpet runners was defective and wearing prematurely, rather than order something new, we did this:
I love the brightness. I also love that they are cushioned and easy on the feet. We have found, however that they slip easily [as we discovered when using grey fatigue mats on the set of Equus last year]. So we put some sticky things under them to hold them in place, and that seems to work.
I'm not so keen on the way the teeth show along some edges or that some of the edge pieces don't fit without cutting. However, we have another pack of these mats, and so if we decide we like these, we can get out the second pack and fill in the edges or cut other squares to fit in the hallway.
Next up: rubber walls?