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Thursday, October 31, 2019

Bouncy Houses in Space and Schwarzenegger's Ukrainian Phone Calls

Ukraine seems to be all the news today.  Everyone in Washington pointing fingers at everyone else for vague conspiracies that involve Ukraine.

 I've asked my liberal friends exactly what Trump did and received:
"He made a Ukrainian guy tell him something about Biden."
"I just know that you can't talk to Ukraine."
"He's an ass."

My conservative friends were a bit more specific regarding Biden's blunder:
"Pure nepotism!"
"His son was doing something corrupt."
"Wasn't he the one that shot himself hunting?"

Obviously, this topic has been well covered.  So I move we discuss Russia.

I read recently that we had an astronaut in space.

Here is a picture NASA posted:

California wildfire from the space station Oct. 30, 2019

This was posted by our American astronaut Andrew Morgan.  What struck me about the photo was the thought, "how the hell did he take it since we stopped our space program in 2011!!!"

Here I have gone eight years assuming America was done with space.  To my chagrin, we only stopped sending shuttles up at that time.  We still send astronauts.  In fact... we pay Russia to send them on their spaceships.   It costs 75-85 million per astronaut.  And yes... I looked... sending a shuttle up ourselves cost 450 million so we are getting a real bargain.

And, by sub-contracting out our space flight, NASA is able to focus more on their next goal - bouncy houses in space.  Yes.  I kid you not.

bouncy houses in space

 A model of a Mars base featuring Bigelow Aerospace B330 inflatable space stationsThese actually are pretty cool.  I mean, if you are okay with sudden death being inches away and all that protects you is a carnival ride made by the lowest bidder.  But apart from that, I compliment NASA for thinking, "My kid loves the bouncy house.  Space is bouncy.  Why don't we put those together?"

By the time I got done looking at the different themes for space bouncy houses I had forgotten why I had even begun looking.  Then I recalled the pressing issue.

 California is on fire.

I blame Arnold Schwarzenegger and  his secret calls to Ukraine.

Kincade fire in California

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Paris puts the first brainless blob on display... or have they?

Paris again seeking to be cutting edge have opened a new exhibit.  A yellow goo called "the blob" (so Stephen King 1980's).  As the French say: "Parle vous Jai un sac de feu"  Which I am pretty sure means, Joey dropped his scrambled eggs before they were done and we put it in an exhibit."

So why should you quite your job right now, buy a ticket to France, and go see this exhibit?

You shouldn't.  France has done this before.    The great storming of Bastille to start a revolution actually only saved seven criminals from jail.  That wouldn't even make a good Hollywood movie.  And the Mona Lisa... not sure she is actually smiling.

But even beyond that, the French have released some crazy facts about the blob such as it has 720 different sexes (???), it solves mazes, can beat puzzle master Will Short in Soduku,  and it likes oatmeal!

And in fact, it appears we have known about this blob since the 1960's. And we believe it has been around billions of years, enjoying long walks in the forest and reading The Great Gatsby.   It is not a new discovery.  Only the French trying to convince you to come see their zoo.
Image result for jokes french surrender
But part of me understands why the French would want this as their key exhibit in a zoo.  Zoo's should show the community animals that are wild and a little terrifying.  Here in the Southeast of the United States, we want to see lions, tigers, bears, pythons, and piranha's.  These are all really awesome animals that we are also a little afraid of encountering.   

For the French, a people who we must remember lost their own civil war, I suppose the blob is that animal.  In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if soon we here that the French military has surrendered to it.  Only after using pay phones to coordinate the peace treaty of course.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Freedom to be fat

So I recently read that in August the city of Minneapolis passed a new law.

The newest legislation is not unique, but the most recent of several areas to ban construction of fast-food drive-thru windows.  It is a law to prevent car emissions but also the government's way to help curb obesity.

I'm not sure this really solves the problem.  People eat a cheeseburger over kale for several reasons:
-1. It is delicious
-2. It is cheaper
Image result for drive thru fast food-3. It doesn't harm kale
-4. It has cheese on it
-5 They are patriotic (What holiday has "kale" as its choice food?)
-6. Grease stains support struggling dry cleaning businesses
-7. It goes better with beer
-8.  It comes with tater tots.
-9. It can be delivered through magic portals on the side of buildings called "driv-thru's"

As you can see, drive - thrus are #9 on the list. People for the last century have fought to overcome drive-thru speakers that sounded like this:

"Can I twaker your fft pop orderrr pop fft"

"I'd like some kale."

"Did you say pop fft you wanted fft pop ffft screech pop with fries?"

"No, I wanted some kale."

"So a chee-burger pop fft extra pop mayo?"

"Yes. Just get me out of here."

If the American can overcome the drive-thru ordering speaker, he or she can overcome this baricade to fast food.  The government can take away my right to have cheeseburgers delivered through a window, but they can't take away my cheeseburger till they pry it from my cold, dead hand.

Of course, they will say my death is exactly what they are trying to prevent.

We shouldn't be surprised.  This is the same city that brought us the "Twinkie Law" after a city council candidate was indicted by a grand jury for serving Twinkies to elderly people.

But this is a tragedy from the city that once founded the Mars candy company and developed the Snickers.  It is also the home of the Juicy Lucy, a cheese - stuffed burger.

In today's environment where the government pays more and more for healthcare costs it is no surprise they want to legislate health.  All I can say to my fellow Minneapolis friends is in the south we have cheap housing, fried turkey legs, Nascar, and fast food drive-thrus.  I even hear one company is developing a Cheese filled burger with lettuce, cheese, and a snickers.

Image result for juicy lucy burger
 The Jucy Lucy Burger

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

When will America's suffering 10% get their due?

To say I was disappointed in the Democratic debate assumes several things:

Image result for democratic debates

-1. That I believe candidates shouldn't criticize their own party.  I mean, come on everyone.  We don't have to beat up on Elizabeth Warren just because she doesn't have a clear plan to pay a trillion plus dollar campaign promise? Or criticize Biden just because when he was VP, his son had some questionable dealings with Ukraine.

-2.  That I actually watched the debate.

Image result for goobers

While the debate was going on, I was working.  Now, that sounds noble.  It paints a picture that if I was at home I would have had my popcorn and goobers out on the couch with my feet propped up.  Well, that is probably true, but watching Netflix.  Not the debate.

I did however watch the New York Times four minute rundown this morning.  So I consider myself an expert.

And that is why I am concerned.  My family want to hear the candidates talk about the real issues.  10% of our population suffers everyday when they sit at conference tables, use spiral notebooks, or God forbid want to use a pair of scissors. 

Evidence shows this population may be paid less, have more stress, and be uncommonly attracted to white, middle class men who write blogs.  At least, that is what I found in my research.  Well, actually, I didn't do any research at all.  But that is secondary to the main issue.

When are we going to stand up for the rights of left handed people.  From my understanding, no candidate even mentioned the plight of this hurting contingency.  Sure, we threw them a day (August 13th) and an incredible Simpson episode, but there are no parades, rallies, sit-ins, camp-outs, protests, colorful ribbons, or celebrity led "coming out" parties. 

Surely, someone in Hollywood could speak for this suffering minority?  Bruce Willis? Julia Roberts?  Angelina Jolie?  Hugh Jackman?  Please?

Image result for left handed problems

I for one am waiting.  Democrats, you want my vote?  Let's deal with the real issues my family face when we go to a crowded booths at a restaurants, when we want to simultaneously make hand gestures about middle class tax increases,  or when my wife and I are scrappbooking newspaper clippings about Hunter Biden's Ukraine exploits.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Equity, Equality, and the collapse of America's Greatest Pastime.

Image result for equity vs equality

So I was in a conference today where this image was shown.  We were asked by the leader to view the image and then tell her what we saw.  My colleagues had some very insightful answers such as:

"In the picture on the right there are more boxes."  and
"In the picture on the left one kid can't see"

My immediate reaction was to question my colleague's math skills.  My second intuition was to ask my other colleague how he knew the student was vision impaired without seeing any of their faces.  Both of these questions demand attention.

However, before I could make such inquiry I remembered what Mr. Fazio said in 8th grade art.  You must always look at the whole picture. 

The three people (to us they were given as representing typical students at our school) are watching a baseball game.  Further, they are watching a baseball game they neither paid for nor are they supporting the home team's concessions.

And this is important.  In today's world you can buy a major league baseball ticket for less than $12.  So we can't say the rich, wealthy, disgusting, arrogant, bureaucrats are oppressing these three people.  $12 is a reasonable price for four plus hours of entertainment.

According to Forbe's Magazine's article, ticket sales for Major League Baseball fell this year below 70 million tickets sold for the first time in 15 years.  Forbes lists several causes (read the entire article here: MLB Ticket Sales Drop below 70 Million )

The article sites rain delays, too many strikeouts, and, yes I'm telling the truth, the fact that the Marlins started using correct math to calculate how many tickets they sold.

It is unclear in the picture above if this is the Marlins stadium, but it is clearly not raining.

Other articles suggest people would rather watch at home where they can play bubbles on their phone.  Unlike the stadium, if you are about to win a round of candy crush at home you can simply pause the batter in mid-spit.

Again, these three people have taken the effort to arrive at the stadium.  We can assume they have either taken up a parking space, bus seat, or subway seat that could have been used by a paying customer.

And that gets us to the heart of the issue.   I can only assume that this image is on the level of photographic evidence and documentary.  It  was not only in my presenter's material, but apparently has been widely used by highly reputable organizations.   This picture represents the type of truth one might find in a documentary narrated by Morgan Freeman or Tom Hanks.

And this picture is not really about Equality and Equity.  It is about stealing from another person's labor.  These three people representing my students are stealing from the pitcher, the shortstop, the batter, the ball boy, the mascot in the funny costume, the hot dog vendor, the beer-man... ok... maybe they shouldn't be giving him any of their money if they are students... the ticket seller, the club owner, and the janitor who cleans the stands.   They are in fact thieves.  And if I could, it is likely they didn't bring those boxes with them either.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Bring your Bible to School Day could inspire a "Bring Your Stuff Home" Day?

I recently read that "Bring your Bible to School Day" was a total success.
Read more!

According to the article, this may have been one of the actual Bibles taken.

It turns out, October 3rd there was a nation wide event called BYBTSD (Bring Your Bible To School Day).  The initiative started with 8,000 students in 2014.  I'm not sure, but reading the article, this may be the first time any student ever brought a Bible to school at all.

And I could believe that.  My children routinely do not take any books to school.  They like to take jackets though.  My son once took a new jacket to school every day for three months.  On a side note, he usually came home without a jacket. Sometimes, without a shoe or some other garment people deem necessary for education.
In fact, looking over the education of my six children, I am pretty sure I have spent well over $15,000 in clothing that disappeared magically throughout the school day.  That makes my dryer's ability to vanish socks look paltry.

Some of you may be reading and thinking, Jerry needs to get control of his family.  This doesn't happen anywhere else.  Well, it turns out there are entire websites devoted to lost jackets.

Pictures of Lost Jackets

But the success of "BYBTSD" has me thinking.

What if we had a  BYSHSYPDHTBYANOD (Bring Your Stuff Home So Your Parents Don't Have To Buy You A New One Day)?

Or a YIKIWUOBYWSNTJTWYGOTCTBD (Yes, I Know It Warmed Up Outside But You Will Still Need That Jacket Tomorrow When You Go Out To Catch The Bus Day)?

We must rally around this cause.  I heard just the other day on HBOGO (Here, Buy Our Gear Over-andover-again) that "WINTER IS COMING!"

In my estimation, if this movement could gain $8,000 followers then we could save families over $three million dollars.  I haven't checked the numbers, but I think that math is pretty accurate.
But in truth, I know we are talking about two separate things.  No, not Bibles versus jackets.  Going to school versus coming home.  The Bible to School Day program states that this year they increased from the original 8,000 participants to over 670,000 students participating.

That is a lot of Bibles taken to first period class!  What the article doesn't relate is that, like the jacket conundrum, only 7 Bibles made it back home that afternoon.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Birthday candles, Sputnik, and the Demise of American Math.

Image result for birthday candles So my step daughter has had two birthday parties this past week for her sixteenth birthday. My father-in-law had a party for his 82nd birthday. These were both excellent events with friends and family.  However, these two birthdays of two different generations has brought to my attention that we have a significant problem in this country: Birthday Candle Regulations.

IMG_8935.jpgIn none of these celebrations did we have the right candles. Apparently, a mere five candles now represents the number sixteen.  I'd offer that each candle represented three years, but that still doesn't work.  For my father-in-law, we didn't even try.  He had one candle on a cake that easily could've held the necessary 82.

Why this discrepancy?  Everyone has a favorite villain.  It is probably the fault of the president.  Or maybe it is a secret conspiracy of the Rockefeller's and the Queen of England.  Or maybe it is due to lobbyist in the yankee candle community oppressing companies that make cheap birthday candles?

I for one, blame new math.

For starters, new math isn't new.  Even the name is deceptive.  It developed according to Wikipedia, during the 1960's in response to the Sputnik crisis.

I once had a chicken named Sputnik.  He got eaten by coyotes.  However, I think the Sputnik Wikipedia refers to is the one involving Russians.

The Russians launched the first space satellite and for a few short years threatened to dominate space.  This would have inevitably lead to such horrors as a Russian Netflix and Russian Instagram.  Imagine the terror of opening snapchat and the only filters being that of a vodka glass and a Russian Ushanka!  But I digress.

So in response to Russia's attempt to dominate space, America launched the NASA space program and simultaneously attempted to destroy all American's ability to cod simple math computations.

Image result for New Math

We should have seen the danger when France immediately followed and implemented their own version.  Any time a country who can't win their own civil war (Napoleon was an Italian) joins you, you should be very afraid.

As if the French jumping on board was not warning enough, the great theorist and philosopher Charles Schulz tried to warn us in 1965 through his media outlet, the Peanuts comic strip.

While the video is subpar, the point is equally well made in the following presentation:


Here, the person using old math is able to solve the problem (35x12=?), let his dog out, and make coffee in the same time the New Math sponsor is able to develop an answer.

However, it would be a bit unfair to only discuss the negatives.  So I sought out a positive voice for new math.  In my extensive efforts I did a google search where I typed in "Who is for New Math."  I then did exhaustive research by clicking only on  the first link and went no further.  It was a Forbes article announcing that students who simply memorized math formulas could not accomplish higher level of math, like trajectories of black holes. And thus, "number sense" was created.

And there you have it... So now, here we are sixty years later.  My Father-in-law thinks he just turned two, my step daughter has no idea how to count out sixteen candles let alone know who Molly Ringwald is.  And we have raised a generation so confused by math that they don't even care about how many candles should go on a birthday cake.  It is really a sad state of affairs.

Image result for russian sputnik
I for one, refused to participate in eating cake out of protest.  Sure, I visited the nacho bar and ate the other offerings.  But until our country can solve this birthday candle crisis I am proposing a protest.  If anyone wants to join me, just wear a ribbon with the answer to 35 x 12 written on it.  Or just continue to not care, sit at home, and prepare yourself for the cast of Stranger Things to all become Russians in season 5.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

A Tent that will kill you

Sometimes you come across the article that just speaks to your soul.  This is a MUST READ.


"Air Harwood's" and other sponsorship opportunities

Image result for michael jordan nike
So the other day I took my daughter shoe shopping.  She desperately NEEDED a pair of Air Jordans.  Being a good father I was all excited about taking her to get what she wanted.  That is, until I realized I would have to remortgage my house to buy them.

So, as I was explaining to my daughter that we couldn't pay $140 for a pair of shoes because we had other bills like electricity, water, and automotive expenses.  As I did, a family walked in to buy the dad and son the newest version of the Air Jordan Elite RX 720 Fly with a green stripe.  My wife was quick to point out that EVERY MEMBER of their family had Air Jordan's.  Even the toddler had Air Jordan flip-flops... Because nothing says "I can slam dunk a basketball" like a two year old in diapers and sandals.

We happened to see the same family in the parking lot as we left (after we went to the discount shoe store...).  They were getting into a 1980's Chevy Celebrity with a remade front end and mismatched tires.  At least if it broke down the family could run home quickly.

But back to Michael Jordan and sponsorship with Nike...
Related image
Big news if you are an athlete in California!  According to the LA Times, College athletes can now profit from their endorsement deals.  In Senate Bill 206 (I really thought California would be at a higher number since they've been around since 1850?) California law will now allow college athletes to (1) sign million dollar endorsement deals with major companies and (2) coach little league for $100 / month.

Both sound like excellent entrepreneurial opportunities.  Perhaps California colleges should develop a resource lab with some financial counselors to help athletes weigh out which path works best for him or her?

Of course, this decision will cause a huge ripple effect throughout the country.  Other states will surely be pressured to do the same as California.  Well, except for a few programs who have been paying students for years.  Now, like their marijuana, previous actions will be legalized.

Now, I for one would like to acknowledge that college is not far enough.  We should liberate others from the oppression of athletic conglomerates.  We must combat the tyranny!  I for one am thinking perhaps we should allow high school students to participate. They've already won half the battle as they are allowed to be paid to referee kiddie soccer games.  But they also need to be allowed to be sponsors for local businesses!

"Big Hearted Smitty's car dealership sponsored by Katie, Chattanooga's state champion in Discus.  Raphael's Italian Bistro's weekly special as shown by George, Huntsville's nationally ranked shuffle board player!

Image result for sports company sponsors a teacherBut let's go even further.  I for one am willing to break the next barrier.  Why shouldn't teachers be allowed to collect sponsorship?  I could wear their shirts in car line, talk about how comfortable their shoes are while doing bus duty, and make their company name the answer to every third question on all my tests.

Hear that Nike? Adidas? Coca Cola?  I'm ready if you are!  Get those contracts ready!

Here is the link to the LA Times article: