Shame on the NFL

Colin Kaepernick is bad for football; he is a bad seed and I could readily do without him.  He is the guy who would not stand during the national anthem and LeBron James is among the celebrities who jumped on the bandwagon to support him.  He has alleged that NFL owners have conspired to keep him out of the league.  Pete Rose should be inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame way before Kaepernick is ever allowed back into the NFL.  Kaepernick claimed that he was protesting racial injustice and police brutality against people of color, but he was being paid to play a sport, not to be an activist.  He hasn’t played a game since becoming a free agent in the offseason of 2017.  The NFL has reached a settlement with Colin Kaepernick after he was blackballed.

Kaepernick said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color.  To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way.  There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”  Kaepernick disrespected all of the U.S. military service members and I think that he is a racist for feeling that Black lives matter more than any other lives.  He was not making America better; he was just drawing his own dividing line and I hope that he never gets back into football.  He is a disgrace that has been treated as a hero and if he is readmitted, I am willing to give up watching football.

Written for Reena’s Exploration Challenge #114 prompt QUESTIONNAIRE by Wendell Berry where I went with question #4.  In the name of patriotism and the flag, how much of our beloved land are you willing to desecrate?  List in the following spaces the mountains, rivers, owns, farms you could most readily do without.

Freedom from Eyeglasses

Aristotle thought that an old man would see as well as a young man if he had a youthful eye.  I have an appointment to discuss cataract surgery in January, but I still have not decided which way to go on that.  There are basically three options available to me and they are having my near-sightedness or my far-sightedness fixed or getting both fixed with Multifocal Intraocular Lenses.  The third option is the expensive one, but this would let me say goodbye to glasses forever.  If I choose to just get either my near-sightedness or my far-sightedness fixed, then it would require me to wear glasses for the one that wasn’t corrected.  Thus, if I get my distance vision corrected for driving, it would put my reading out of focus and I would need glasses for that and vice-a-versa.

Medicare will only cover the cost of standard monofocal intraocular lenses used in cataract surgery and the multifocal intraocular lenses will probably cost $2,500 per eye.  I want the freedom, but I am indecisive about how much I am willing to pay for that.  Having to wear glasses is a burden and even using extended wear contact lenses can be a pain.  The medical technology exists to improve the quality of my life and I could have the freedom to see at distance, intermediate and near without the need for glasses.  Everything should be fine, as I don’t develop an astigmatism, but there is no need to worry about that now.  Determining to wear glasses, or not to wear glasses is a Shakespearean decision for me, but not in the same realm as what Hamlet was considering.  Writing this has helped me to make up my mind and I want it all, so I will go the expensive route and get the multifocal intraocular lenses.

Around 1000 AD, Ibn al-Haytham known as Alhazen, an Arabian mathematician at Cairo, made significant contributions to the principles of optics and he became known as the “Father of Modern Optics.”  Fourteen of his works on optics have survived, including his Book of Optics and his Treatise on Light.  Several 11th century hoards found at Viking sites on the island of Gotland, Sweden, contained biconvex lenses made from rock-crystal.  These are called the Visby lenses and they provide evidence that sophisticated lens-making techniques were being used by craftsmen over 1,000 years ago, at a time when researchers had only just begun to explore the laws of refraction.  It is said that the lenses are of such high quality that they could have been used to make a telescope.

It is generally accepted that spectacles were ‘invented’ (more likely improvised) no later than the last quarter of the thirteenth century by the Italians (rather than the Dutch or the Chinese).  In 12th-century China, they started wearing flat panes made of smoky quartz, that were used as sunglasses and they were a status symbol, as they had no corrective properties.  In 1266, the English Franciscan Friar, Roger Bacon wrote about the scientific principles of corrective lenses in his Opus Majus, but there’s no evidence that he applied that knowledge.  Bacon described the magnifying properties of lenses (spectacles came into use soon after), and he elucidated the principles of reflection, refraction, and spherical aberration.  In 1286, the first eyeglasses were made in Pisa Northern Italy, by Friar Alessandro della Spina.  By 1301, there were guild regulations in Venice governing the sale of eyeglasses.

Written for Reena’s Exploration Challenge #113 image prompt where I went with glasses.

Reena’s Phrases Part Two

Yesterday I made a post covering the first four phrases in Reena’s Exploration Challenge and now I will write about the remaining phrases.
1. pockets of stillness
2. question your maps
3. cynical assertions
4. lost alphabet
5. was that really me?
6. crumbling thoughts
7. undulating patterns
8. free-flowing bonds
9. pregnant pause
10. potential of emptiness
I went to a party at my best friend’s house that was an outdoor barbecue.  Billy and I played bocce ball in his back yard which we both enjoyed and then we sat on his back porch to enjoy some beers.  My wife always got along really well with his wife, which made things nice.  The folding chair that I was sitting in collapsed and I fell over, but I didn’t get hurt.  I was embarrassed and I spilled my beer.  Billy got me another chair and another beer, but that chair also broke under my weight.  I’m a big guy, I wear triple extra-large shirts and I need a sturdy chair to sit in.  The gravity of the Earth makes up a person’s static weight and there is also the force used in sitting down that needs to be considered when determining how much of a load a chair can take and this is the dynamic weight.  All folding chairs have a maximum weight capacity which should equate to the amount of pressure that can be put on that chair before it collapses, but this only refers to the static weight.  The dynamic weight comes into consideration when someone plops their butt down into the chair, re-adjusts in it to feel more comfortable, or leans back on the chair.  Billy got me a third chair and I felt bad when I broke that one also.  I had to sit on his steps for the rest of the party, because I did not want to break any more of his cheap chairs.  I did not think it was my fault, but I did wonder was that really me?

Chairs can collapse and cookies can crumble, as sometimes things just don’t work out.  The world has a way of throwing many things at us, and often it can feel like everything is crumbling around you.  When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I’m feeling sad, I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don’t feel so bad.  I am usually in the mood to write and I try not to tie myself down into any specific structure, but every now and then I have crumbling thoughts.

Our solar system isn’t fixed in one position, it travels through space and our Sun eventually aligns with the center of the Milky Way galaxy.  All the stars in our galaxy rotate around a galactic center, but this happens at varying time periods because they are at different distances from the center and they are moving at different speeds.  It takes our solar system which is moving at a speed of about 155 miles per second or 486,000 miles per hour approximately 226 million years to orbit the Milky Way galaxy.  The Galactic Center of the Milky Way is it’s rotational center, this is the place where the super massive black hole is located which is estimated to be 2.6 to 3 million times more massive than the size of our Sun.  Earth appears to be located about 25,000 to 28,000 light years away from the from the Galactic Center.  This orbit of the Galactic Center has no negative effects on the Earth.  Our galaxy consists of undulating groupings of mass and intricate gravitational fields, so our orbit through the Milky Way is not a perfect circle or an ellipse.  The Milky Way galaxy is like a milkshake undulating up and down, and nobody knows why.  It is thought that the undulating patterns may be a lingering effect from a galaxy that smashed into ours in the past.

The way that atoms bond together affects the electrical properties of the materials they form.  Copper has the highest conductivity of any non-precious metal, it is highly ductal, it resists corrosion, and this makes copper the first choice as a conductor for electrical applications.  Current flow is the movement of electric charges along a conductor.  Copper has an atomic number of 29, meaning that the copper atom has 29 protons and 29 electrons.  The protons are concentrated in the nucleus while the electrons are distributed in the K, L, M, and N shells as 2 in K, 8 in L, 18 in M, leaving 1 electron in the outermost shell N of a copper atom, but this shell has room for 8 electrons.  The outermost electrons of atoms in the copper wire are not sure which atom they belong to.  They can move easily from one atom to the other in a random fashion.  Such electrons which can move easily from one atom to the other in a random fashion are called free electrons.  It is the movement of free electrons in a material like copper that constitutes flow of current.  As more free-flowing bonds develop between other atoms, more electrons will move along a conductor.

Setting the stage is a phrase used to mean that conditions have been made right for something to happen, or that something is likely to happen.  I never saw the play Hamilton, but it contains a song ‘Wait For It’ which is about the rivalry between Burr and Alexander Hamilton, and Theodosia choses Burr, but he doesn’t believe that he has won, so he has a pregnant pause wondering why she chose him.  Aaron Burr married Theodosia and they had a daughter who they named Theodosia.  A pregnant pause occurs when something that requires a sarcastic response happens, but no one quite knows what to say or do and an awkward silence follows.  On July 10, 1804, Aaron sat down at his desk and wrote his daughter Theodosia a goodbye letter saying “I am indebted to you, my dearest Theodosia, for a very great portion of the happiness which I have enjoyed in this life.  You have completely satisfied all that my heart and affections had hoped for or even wished.”  The next day, Aaron who was the Vice President of the United States killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel in Weehawken, New Jersey.

The universe is a pretty empty place, as all of the matter contained in the it would fit into about 1 billion cubic light years, meaning that only about 0.0000000000000000000042 percent of the universe contains any matter.  All the stars, planets and galaxies that can be seen today make up just 4 percent of the universe.  The other 96 percent is made of stuff astronomers can’t see, detect or even comprehend.  These mysterious substances are called dark energy and dark matter. Vera Rubin an American astronomer pioneered work on galaxy rotation rates uncovered a discrepancy between the predicted angular motion of galaxies and the observed motion, by studying galactic rotation curves.  Rubin’s observations differed from what Newtonian physics predicted, that stars on the outskirts of a galaxy would orbit more slowly than stars at the center and this led scientists to conclude that there must be much more matter in galaxies than what we can see.  We know that dark matter doesn’t interact with regular matter, or even light, and so it is invisible.  Yet it has mass that exerts a gravitational pull, just like normal matter, which is why the velocities of stars and other phenomena in the universe are affected.  It turns out that roughly 68% of the universe is dark energy.  Dark matter makes up about 27%.  The rest of everything is referred to as normal matter, everything ever observed with all of our instruments, and this adds up to less than 5% of the universe.  Albert Einstein was the first person to realize that empty space is not nothing.  We see gravity every day, but we still don’t really understand this force, as it has a potential of emptiness to it.

Written for Reena’s Exploration Challenge #112 where the prompt is a list of phrases.

Reena’s Phrases

Reena’s Exploration Challenge gives us a list of ten phrases this week to take us on a journey of inspiration. I will attempt to write something about the first four phrases.  Maybe I will do a part two later, but this ended up taking more time than I thought it would.

  1. pockets of stillness
  2. question your maps
  3. cynical assertions
  4. lost alphabet
  5. was that really me?
  6. crumbling thoughts
  7. undulating patterns
  8. free-flowing bonds
  9. pregnant pause
  10. potential of emptiness

Apollo 11 landed on the Moon in the Sea of Tranquility.  Early astronomers thought large bodies of water were present on the moon and this section Mare Tranquillitatis was named in 1651 by astronomers Francesco Grimaldi and Giovanni Battista Riccioli in their lunar map.  I imagine that when you are on the moon, you could feel tranquility, serenity and inner peace because of the pockets of stillness, stunning views and moon shadows.

Since the Earth is a three-dimensional shape, it is impossible to make a map on a flat sheet of paper.  A map presents information about the world in a simple, visual way indicating natural landforms and water-ways and it is supposed to show the shape, size, direction, distance and scale, but no map is perfect.  They are all distorted in some aspect, making a trade-off between the various properties, so you should always question your maps.

The Arab-Israeli conflict started when Sarah started fighting with her Egyptian handmaiden, Hagar who bore Ishmael as a son for Abraham.  God promised Abraham offspring, saying that he would be the ancestor of a multitude of nations, but Sara was old and still childless and Sara thought that she could obtain children from her slave.  After Hagar gave birth to Ishmael, Sara felt like Hagar was treating her in a contemptuous manor saying that she was barren because God rejected her, which spelled trouble for the city of Hebron.  Sara began to torment Hagar and make her work harder than necessary and when Hagar could no longer tolerate this she fled.  Eventually Sara conceived Isaac, a son for Abraham when Ishmael was fourteen.  When Isaac was five years old Ishmael intended to slay him with a bow and arrow.  Sara saw this and she told her husband to cast out Hagar and Ishmael.  All of this trouble started with Hagar’s cynical assertions.

The modern English alphabet is a Latin alphabet consisting of 26 letters, each having an upper- and lower-case form.  The Romans only had 23 letters lacking J, V, and W.  In the Middle Ages after book production started, literacy began growing. Only 12% of the people in the world could read and write in 1820, and today the literacy rate for all males and females that are at least 15 years old is 86.3%.  English has always been a living language, changing and evolving with use and over time some of the letters got dropped.  We used to have the letters Eth (ð), Thorn (þ), Thorn with a stroke (Ꝥ), Wynn (ƿ), Yogh (ȝ), Ash (æ), Ethel (œ), Insular G (ᵹ), Long S (ſ), Eng (Ɲ). Tironian “OND” (ꝛ) and ampersand (&) which is still on keyboards today.  These obsolete 12 letters make up our lost alphabet.  The long S became the integral sign for calculus.  There is some talk about eliminating the letter z from the alphabet, but then the Zorro movies would not make sense any more.

Written for Reena’s Exploration Challenge #112 where the prompt is a list of phrases.

Bridge on the River Kwai

The story in this film was loosely based on a true World War II incident, and the real-life character of Lieutenant Colonel Philip Toosey.  Toosey was one of a number of Allied POW’s, that was in charge of his men from late 1942 through May 1943 when they were ordered to build two Kwai River bridges in Burma (one of steel, one of wood), to help move Japanese supplies and troops from Bangkok to Rangoon.  The film was the number one box-office success of the year (the highest grossing film) and it won critical acclaim as well as receiving eight Academy Award nominations and seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Alec Guinness), Best Director, Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (French novelist Pierre Boulle), Best Cinematography, Best Score, and Best Film Editing.

The largely fictitious plot describes the mistreatment of prisoners in the POW camp and how they tried to sabotage the construction of the bridge.  Construction of the bridge serves as a symbol of the preservation of professionalism and personal integrity to one prisoner, Colonel Nicholson, a proud perfectionist who was pitted against Colonel Saito, the warden of the Japanese POW camp.  There is a slight technical problem with the Bridge on the River Kwai, as it crosses a river, but not the River Kwai.  Pierre Boulle had never been there, although he knew about the ‘death railway’ where many British POW’s suffered horribly and died, that ran parallel to the River Kwae for many miles, and he assumed that it was the Kwae which it crossed just North of Kanchanaburi.  He was wrong and this became a problem for the Thais because thousands of tourists flocked to see the Bridge on the River Kwai, so they renamed the river so it would match the infamous bridge.

Without the help that the Japanese got from the POW’s this river may have been unbridgeable.  I always loved the whistling song ‘Colonel Bogey March’ which became the theme song from The Bridge on the River Kwai movie.

Written for Reena’s Exploration Challenge #107 prompt – Unbridgeable.

The Riddler

The Queen of Sheba who was named Bilqis journeyed to Jerusalem to test King Solomon with hard questions because of his famed wisdom.  She addressed Solomon saying, “I have heard of thee and thy wisdom; if now I inquire of thee concerning any matter, wilt thou answer me?”  He replied, “The Lord giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.”  Usually the king would test the wisdom of visitors to his court, but he allowed the Queen of Sheba to challenge his authority in both ruling and knowing by asking him if he knew the answers to her riddles that concerned fundamentals of human life, procreation, family relations, sex, and tribal affiliation.  She asked, “What are the seven that issue and nine that enter, the two that offer drink, and the one that drinks?”  Solomon answered, “The seven that issue are the seven days of menstrual impurity.  The nine that enter are the nine months of pregnancy.  The two that offer drink are breasts, and the child is the one who drinks.”  She asked another riddle, “How can a woman say to her son, your father is my father, your grandfather, my husband, you are my son, and I am your sister?”  Solomon replied, “This applies to the two daughters of Lot, who each became pregnant by their father and bore sons.”

“Thou art indeed wise”, the Queen of Sheba exclaimed.  “Tell me who is he who neither was born nor has died?”  Solomon answered, “It is the Lord of the Universe, blessed be He.”  The Queen of Sheba asked, “What land is that that has but once seen the Sun?”  Solomon answered, “That is the land upon which after the creation the waters were gathered, and the bed of the sea on the day when the sea was divided.”  Queen Bilqis said, “There is an enclosure with ten doors, when one is open, nine are shut; when nine are open, one is shut.”  King Solomon said, “That enclosure is the womb: the ten doors are the ten orifices of man, his eyes, ears, nostrils, mouth, the apertures for the discharge of the excreta and the urine, and the navel; when the child is in the embryonic state, the navel is open and the other orifices are closed, but when it issues (from the womb) the navel is closed, and the others are opened.”  The queen was not done yet and she said, “There is something which when living moves not, yet when its head is cut off it moves?”  Solomon answered, “It is the ship in the sea, the living tree has no motion, the trunk from which the crowning branches have been severed supplies the material for the moving vessel.”  After Solomon successfully answered her riddles, the queen showered him with gifts.

Written for Reena’s Exploration Challenge #106 where the prompt is Paradox.

Til The End Of Time

Wistfulness is a feeling of sadness, because you are thinking about something that is impossible or in the past.  In May 1964, Paul McCartney wrote the song ‘Things We Said Today’ entirely by himself even though it is credited as a Lennon and McCartney song.  Paul was cruising the Caribbean on a holiday in the Virgin Islands aboard a yacht called Happy Days with his then-girlfriend Jane Asher.  The melancholy lyrics reflect that Paul understood that his and Asher’s lifestyles would increasingly drive them apart, although they did stay together until July 1968, and in December 1967 announced their engagement.

The Beatles just completed filming A Hard Day’s Night on April 24th and their manager Brian Epstein arranged for them to have a month off in May to do as they pleased and they all enjoyed some (relatively) peaceful times.  Paul and Jane an English actress went on the cruise with Ringo and his girlfriend Maureen Starkey Tigrett who was a hairdresser from Liverpool.  Paul and Jane both had professional careers that separated them for long periods of time, which resulted in Paul wishing that she wasn’t so far away from him.  Paul knew that he needed to record some songs while he was on this holiday to flesh out side two of the Beatles soundtrack album when they got back.  ‘Things We Said Today’ did not get into the movie, but it was on the soundtrack.

Paul is affirming his love for his girl who he is separated from for long periods of time.  He is comforted by her assurance that she will love him “till the end of time” and that she’ll be “thinking of” him while they are apart.  The lyrics in this song are somewhat melancholy and wistful, but also optimistic.  Sometimes when a friendship ends, all you have left are the memories of things that you said during those days.

You say you will love me
If I have to go
You’ll be thinking of me
Somehow I will know

Someday when I’m lonely
Wishing you weren’t so far away
Then I will remember
Things we said today

You say you’ll be mine, girl
‘Til the end of time
These days such a kind girl
Seems so hard to find

Someday when we’re dreaming
Deep in love, not a lot to say
Then we will remember
The things we said today

Me, I’m just the lucky kind
Love to hear you say that love is luck
And, though we may be blind
Love is here to stay
And that’s enough
To make you mine, girl
Be the only one
Love me all the time, girl
We’ll go on and on

Someday when we’re dreaming
Deep in love, not a lot to say
Then we will remember
Things we said today

Me, I’m just the lucky kind
Love to hear you say that love is luck
And, though we may be blind
Love is here to stay
And that’s enough
To make you mine, girl
Be the only one
Love me all the time, girl
We’ll go on and on

Someday when we’re dreaming
Deep in love, not a lot to say
Then we will remember
The things we said today

Written for Reena’s Exploration Challenge #105 – Wistfulness.