Tag Archives: signs

Forgetfulness…and Important Reminders

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I don’t know about you, but I’m more forgetful than I used to be. I find myself making notes to myself about things I’m supposed to not forget – if I remember them long enough to make a reminder, that is! Sometimes I can’t remember them long enough to make a reminder! I use an online product called SmartSheet to remind me of things – both for work and in my personal life. I also use Alexa, Cortana and Google. You’d think that I’d not ever forget anything, but that’s not the case!

I can say, though, that I’ve never forgot to put on my underwear. But if not for my wife, I’d probably need a sign like this somewhere in the house (probably over my sock and underwear drawer) or I might find myself without a fresh pair to put on more often than I’d like to admit. You see, having clean underwear is just something us guys take for granted. I know we shouldn’t, but nonetheless, we do. What that really means is that we take our wives for granted – and there’s the real shame!

So, honey, thank you for all the pairs of underwear that you’ve washed for me over the years so that I’ve never needed a sign like this one – and I hope I never do!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: On this day in 1861, the bloodiest four years in American history began when Confederate shore batteries under General P.G.T. Beauregard opened fire on Union-held Fort Sumter in South Carolina’s Charleston Bay. During the next 34 hours, 50 Confederate guns and mortars launched more than 4,000 rounds at the poorly supplied fort. On April 13, U.S. Major Robert Anderson surrendered the fort. Two days later, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteer soldiers to quell the Southern “insurrection.”

As early as 1858, the ongoing conflict between North and South over the issue of slavery had led Southern leadership to discuss a unified separation from the United States. By 1860, the majority of the slave states were publicly threatening secession if the Republicans, the anti-slavery party, won the presidency. Following Republican Abraham Lincoln’s victory over the divided Democratic Party in November 1860, South Carolina immediately initiated secession proceedings. On December 20, the South Carolina legislature passed the “Ordinance of Secession,” which declared that “the Union now subsisting between South Carolina and other states, under the name of the United States of America, is hereby dissolved.” After the declaration, South Carolina set about seizing forts, arsenals, and other strategic locations within the state. Within six weeks, five more Southern states–Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana–had followed South Carolina’s lead.

In February 1861, delegates from those states convened to establish a unified government. Jefferson Davis of Mississippi was subsequently elected the first president of the Confederate States of America. When Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated on March 4, 1861, a total of seven states (Texas had joined the pack) had seceded from the Union, and federal troops held only Fort Sumter in South Carolina, Fort Pickens off the Florida coast, and a handful of minor outposts in the South. Four years after the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter, the Confederacy was defeated at the total cost of 620,000 Union and Confederate soldiers dead.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Approximately 600,000 Jews served in the United States armed forces during WWII. More than 35,000 were killed, wounded, captured, or missing. Approximately 8,000 died in combat. However, only two Jewish soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor in WWII.

Stating the Obvious

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Do you ever get annoyed by people who state to obvious? Or do you make it a habit of stating the obvious yourself? For example, “Wow! That was loud!” (Whoever you are talking to heard it, too.) Or, as in the case of Little Red Riding Hood talking to the wolf, “My, what a big nose you have!” (As if the wolf didn’t look down his long nose every single moment of every single day!)

The sign that I shot for today’s picture is of a similar ilk. And, in a way, it goes along with the meme I introduced in my post yesterday about the sign with the beer on it: maybe if people in the south have to be warned that trains sometimes use railroad tracks, there may be something to the common (mis)perception about those of us who do live here in the southern United States. Still, it’s home now, and we love it. More southern-isms in the next few days!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1870, while visiting Marathon, Greece, Lord Muncaster of Britain is kidnapped by brigands, almost resulting in war. The pirates, led by Takos Arvanitakis, were experienced in kidnapping and had used it as a lucrative source of income for many years. However, their capture of Lord Muncaster and a group of English tourists proved to be more difficult to pull off than they anticipated.

Arvanitakis and his gang demanded £50,000 for the release of the captives. King George of Greece refused their ransom demands, offering instead to exchange himself for the hostages in an attempt to appease England. However, before any further negotiations could take place, a confrontation between the brigands and Greek troops resulted in the death of just about everyone involved, including Muncaster. Arvanitakis was one of the few who managed to escape the battle with his life.

The incident caused England to threaten war, but Russia interjected by siding with Greece. The crisis was averted after Greece conducted a major crackdown on the bandits. Although few of the people they arrested had actually played any role in the kidnapping, it eased the international tensions and greatly reduced the number of subsequent kidnappings in the country.

Arvanitakis was shot and killed two years later.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Elvis Presley was famously a fan of the “Sleeping Beauty Diet,” or a diet where a person is sedated for days at time. The reasoning behind the diet was that a sleeping person wouldn’t eat.

Do the Math

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I know not everyone is good at math. I am OK, but I quit after taking calculus. I don’t like math. I think back now to all the algebra, trigonometry and calculus that I took and I can honestly say that other than some of the more simple things about algebra, I’ve never used any of the rest of it. Perhaps that’s because I chose fields of work where I didn’t have to do lots of math or formulas. I don’t regret that one bit.

Now, it’s true that many people think of folks who live in the south as being rather, well, uneducated and simple-minded. I haven’t personally found that to be true at all. I think by and large it’s the accent that makes people have that belief. But then you come across a sign like the one in today’s photo and then you have to wonder.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1834, a fire at the LaLaurie mansion in New Orleans, Louisiana, led to the discovery of a torture chamber where slaves were routinely brutalized by Delphine LaLaurie. Rescuers found a 70-year-old black woman trapped in the kitchen during the fire because she was chained up while LaLaurie was busy saving her furniture. The woman later revealed that she had set the fire in an attempt to escape LaLaurie’s torture. She led authorities up to the attic, where seven slaves were tied with spiked iron collars.

After Delphine LaLaurie married her third husband, Louis LaLaurie, and moved into his estate on Royal Street, she immediately took control of the large number of slaves used as servants. LaLaurie was a well-known sadist, but the mistreatment of slaves by the wealthy and socially connected was not a matter for the police at the time.

However, in 1833, Delphine chased a small slave girl with a whip until the girl fell off the roof of the house and died. LaLaurie tried to cover up the incident, but police found the body hidden in a well. Authorities decided to fine LaLaurie and force the sale of the other slaves on the estate.

LaLaurie foiled this plan by secretly arranging for her relatives and friends to buy the slaves. She then sneaked them back into the mansion, where she continued to torture them until the night of the fire in April 1834.

Apparently her Southern neighbors had some standards when it came to the treatment of slaves, because a mob gathered in protest after learning about LaLaurie’s torture chamber. She and her husband fled by boat, leaving the butler (who had also participated in the torture) to face the wrath of the crowd.

Although charges were never filed against LaLaurie, her reputation in upper-class society was destroyed. It is believed that she died in Paris in December 1842.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: the horse head in the famous horse scene in The Godfather was actually a real, decapitated horse head.

Bumper Stickers

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What is it that causes people to put bumper stickers on their cars? I don’t get it. I don’t know that I’ve ever put a bumper sticker on my cars. Does that make me strange? I have put magnetic “ribbons” on the back of a car that speak towards supporting our veterans, but that’s about it. I don’t have anything against bumper stickers themselves. I just don’t want to put them on my car or truck. I must admit, however, that I find some bumper stickers to be clever and often funny.

While we were in Jerusalem in the old city, I saw this billboard with a bunch of bumper stickers pinned on to it. I thought some of them were pretty clever. Check ’em out!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1936, the dismembered body of Florence Polillo was found in a basket and several burlap sacks in Cleveland. The 42-year-old woman was the third victim in 18 months to be found dismembered with precision. It sparked a panic in Cleveland,where the unknown murderer was dubbedthe “Mad Butcher.”

In June 1936, another head, and later a headless body, turned up and police were unable to identify the victim. Even when a replica mask of the victim’s face was displayed at the Great Lakes Exposition, the victim remained a mystery, while the Mad Butcher continued killing.

By the summer of 1938, with the body count into double digits, the Cleveland police were desperate to find the Mad Butcher. One suspect, an actual butcher named Frank Dolezal, was interrogated for 40 straight hours until he confessed to killing Florence Polillo. However, he subsequently changed his story many times and killed himself in his cell before his guilt could be determined.

In reality, though, few authorities believed Dolezal was actually the killer—it is believed that the real suspect was relatively prominent and politically connected, and as a result the police department trumped up the case against Dolezal. All official police records of the matter have been destroyed.

The Mad Butcher’s attack stopped in Cleveland after the Dolezal’s suicide. The true identity of the Mad Butcher remains a mystery to this day.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Several studies show that a plant-based diet increases the body’s metabolism, causing the body to burn calories up to 16% faster than the body would on a meat-based diet for at least the first 3 hours after meals. Bummer!

Livin’ in Georgia

_MG_8653Suppose that you went to sleep one night and woke up the next morning in an unfamiliar place. You get cleaned up, get dressed and go outside only to find that you don’t recognize a thing. The people sound funny when they talk – oh, it’s English – but it sure doesn’t sound quite right! You stop at a corner cafe to alleviate your hunger but there’s strange stuff on the menu: fried green tomatoes, grits, fried okra, fried pickles, collard greens and kale…  What would all this tell you? Precisely this: you have somehow (perhaps through the use of a Star Trek-like transporter) been moved from the familiar to the unfamiliar.

Now, I have to tell you that there’s not much further you could go in the United States that to make a transition from California to a place like Georgia. Both have advantages…and disadvantages. Which do I prefer? I’m not going there because I can’t. There are things I prefer about California and things I prefer about Georgia. I guess that’s how it should be, though.

Recently, in Dahlonega, I saw these signs in the front of a store window and I thought that they captured part of what it is like living here in Georgia. Fishing is big. Hunting is big. Beer is big. Firearms are BIG. Hippies are NOT big and you take your life in your hands if you look like one.

Ah, diversity!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1789, 69 members of Congress cast their ballots to elect George Washington the first president of the United States.

As the former leader of the Continental Army and chairman of the Continental Congress, Washington possessed the necessary credentials for the presidency, if not the enthusiasm. For months he tried to avoid it, even outright rejecting the idea of assuming the presidency, but he finally succumbed to Congress’ decision and the runner-up, John Adams became Washington’s vice president.

Washington’s reluctance stemmed in part from the fact that becoming president would place him squarely in the middle of a raging legislative debate regarding the character of the new government, a conflict that persisted to the end of his second term. Washington dreaded presiding over a fragile young nation that already appeared to be dividing along partisan lines. (Sound familiar?) He also expressed concern over his age. Later he wrote that on the eve of his inauguration he felt someone going to the place of his execution than a national hero.

Washington’s humility meshed well with the new nation’s democratic sensibilities. Fearing any comparison to the monarchal government from which American had just been liberated, an aging Washington took care to avoid any physical or symbolic references to European monarchs from the beginning of his term, including ordering his tailor to make his inauguration suit out of simple broadcloth. (Later on, as he settled in to the presidency, Washington took to wearing slightly more presidential black velvet.) When the Senate proposed that he be called by the official title His Highness the President of the United States of America and the Protector of Their Liberties, an embarrassed Washington opted for the more modest address of Mr. President.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  Hammerhead sharks’ heads are soft at birth so they won’t jam the mothers’ birth canals.

A Word to the Wise is Sufficient

_MG_8717What is your immediate reaction when someone gives you advice? Are you likely to accept it or are you more prone to ignore it? Perhaps it depends on who it is that is giving you the advice and what the advice is about, right?

People are quick to give advice or direction. It is true that some advice is more important than other “wise words”. Today’s photo is a perfect example of that. Is the advice given on the sign the most important advice you’ll ever receive? I’m sure it’s not. But, there’s no way to deny that this is GOOD ADVICE!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1879, pursuing soldiers badly beat Cheyenne Chief Dull Knife and his people as they make a desperate bid for freedom.

A leading chief of the Northern Cheyenne, Dull Knife (also called Morning Star) had long urged peace with the powerful Anglo-Americans invading his homeland in the Powder River country of modern-day Wyoming and Montana. However, the 1864 massacre of more than 200 peaceful Cheyenne Indians by Colorado militiamen at Sand Creek, Colorado, led Dull Knife to question whether the Anglo-Americans could ever be trusted. He reluctantly led his people into a war he suspected they could never win. In 1876, many of Dull Knife’s people fought along side Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull at their victorious battle at Little Bighorn, though the chief himself apparently did not participate.

During the winter after Little Bighorn, Dull Knife and his people camped along the headwaters of the Powder River in Wyoming, where they fell victim to the army’s winter campaign for revenge. In November, General Ronald Mackenzie’s expeditionary force discovered the village and attacked. Dull Knife lost many of his people, and along with several other Indian leaders, reluctantly surrendered the following spring.

In 1877, the military relocated Dull Knife and his followers far away from their Wyoming homeland to the large Indian Territory on the southern plains (in present-day Kansas and Oklahoma). No longer able to practice their traditional hunts, the band was largely dependent on meager government provisions. Beset by hunger, homesickness, and disease, Dull Knife and his people rebelled after one year. In September 1878, they joined another band to make an epic march back to their Wyoming homeland. Dull Knife publicly announced his peaceful intentions but the government saw the fleeing Indians as renegades, and soldiers from bases scattered throughout the Plains attacked the Indians in an unsuccessful effort to turn them back.

Arriving at Fort Robinson, Nebraska, near their Wyoming homeland, Dull Knife and his people surrendered to the government in the hopes they would be allowed to stay in the territory. To their dismay, administrators threatened to hold the band captive at Fort Robinson until they would agree to return south to the Indian Territory. Unwilling to give up when his goal was so close, Dull Knife led about 100 of his people in one final desperate break for freedom. Soldiers from Fort Robinson chased after the already weak and starving band of men, women, and children, and on January 22, they attacked and killed at least 30 people, including members of Dull Knife’s family.

Badly bloodied, most of the survivors returned to Fort Robinson and accepted their fate. Dull Knife managed to escape, and he eventually found shelter with Chief Red Cloud on the Sioux reservation in Nebraska. Permitted to remain on the reservation, Dull Knife died four years later, deeply bitter towards the Anglo-Americans he had once hoped to live with peacefully. The same year, the government finally allowed the Northern Cheyenne to move to a permanent reservation on the Tongue River in Montana near their traditional homeland. At last, Dull Knife’s people had come home, but their great chief had not lived to join them.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  The Vikings wore wolf skins and drank wolf blood to take on the wolf’s spirit in battle. They also viewed real wolves as battle companions or hrægifr (corpse trolls).

Words, Confusing Can Be

Remember how Yoda in the Star Wars movies had a funny way of saying things kinda backwards?  (By the way, the ancient Greeks did that, too…maybe Yoda was really from one of the Greek isles.)  I always thought it was part of Yoda’s charm and I think most people would agree with me.  It was cute and that little squeaky voice of his made it even more cute.

Words can make us laugh and cry.  They convey hopes and dreams, disappointments and despair.  The first words of a child are captured forever, and mom’s and dad’s everywhere wonder if the first word will be “mama” or “dada”….and they take pride if it is the right word for themselves!  Every dad’s buttons bust off his shirt when his kid calls him “dada” for the first time!!!  I’m sure it’s no different for a mom.

This past Friday, I was able to bum around Palo Alto and Stanford University for a while before I taught a training session in Menlo Park.  There is a candy story on University Avenue in Palo Alto by the name of Rocket Fizz.  If you go to that area of the country, drop in and enjoy some goodies!!!  And some of the goodies are old rock concert posters and metal signs with all kinds of sayings on them.  I took quite a few pictures there and will share some of them with you in coming days, but today’s just goes to show you how what we can can be confusing.

As a grandparent or parent, you know what you mean when you say that you’ve been “child-proofing” your house.  It means you’re putting those plastic plugs in the electric outlets that probing little fingers could explore.  It means putting spring-loaded clips on cupboard doors that make it so little children can’t get into the household cleaners and the like.  But, I doubt that this is what they meant (though there were plenty of times, I’m sure, when every mom wished this is what it meant):

_MG_7418ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1885, George Smith Patton, one of the great American generals of World War II, was born in San Gabriel, California.

Patton came from a family with a long history of military service. After studying at West Point, he served as a tank officer in World War I, and his experience in that conflict, along with his extensive military study, led him to become an advocate of the crucial importance of the tank in future warfare. After the American entrance into World War II, Patton was placed in command of an important U.S. tank division and played a key role in the Allied invasion of French North Africa in 1942. In 1943, Patton led the U.S. Seventh Army in its assault on Sicily and won fame for out-commanding Montgomery during the so-called Race to Messina.

Although Patton was one of the ablest American commanders in World War II, he was also one of the most controversial. He presented himself as a modern-day cavalryman, designed his own uniform, and was known to make eccentric claims that he was a direct descendant of great military leaders of the past through reincarnation. During the Sicilian campaign, Patton generated considerable controversy when he accused a hospitalized U.S. soldier suffering from battle fatigue of cowardice and then personally struck him across the face. The famously profane general was forced to issue a public apology and was reprimanded by General Dwight Eisenhower.

However, when it was time for the invasion of Western Europe, Eisenhower could find no general as formidable as Patton, and the general was again granted an important military post. In 1944, Patton commanded the U.S. Third Army in the invasion of France, and in December of that year his expertise in military movement and tank warfare helped crush the German counteroffensive in the Ardennes.

During one of his many successful campaigns, General Patton was said to have declared, “Compared to war, all other forms of human endeavor shrink to insignificance.” On December 21, 1945, he died in a hospital in Germany from injuries sustained in an automobile accident near Mannheim.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  The male name Andrew is from the Greek word for “manly.”  (Hummmmmm…maybe I need to change my name to Andrew!)

 

Duh

OK.  I’ll admit it.  I get a bit of a chuckle out of warning labels on products these days.  Some of them that you may have seen go something like this:

On an electric hairdryer: “Do not use in water.”

On a bottle of drain cleaner: “Not for human ingestion.”

On a washer: “DO NOT put any person in this washer.”

On a Razor 2-wheel scooter: “This product moves when used.”

On a bottle of dog pills from a vet: “Use car when operating a car.”

On a chainsaw!!!: “Do not hold the wrong end of a chainsaw.”

If you want more, I encourage you to just google “warning labels” and you’ll have entertainment for a long, LONG time!!!!

What’s with us anymore, anyway?  Do we really need someone to tell us not to hold the wrong end of a chainsaw!!!!????  What kind of IDIOT would do that, or even think of doing it!!!!????  What kind of dimwit would use a hair drying while lounging in a bathtub?!?!?!?!  How did we get so stupid?

Well, I guess that maybe we aren’t really that stupid (although I suspect that someone must have been dumb enough to do all those things or the warnings wouldn’t be on there!)  Maybe it’s more that our legal system has gotten so goofed up – willing to sue for any and every reason, even if the person who is doing the suing did something totally STUPID and irresponsible – something that no person with an IQ above that of a tomato would ever think of doing.

And that, my friends, is my rant for today and the background for today’s photo.  Yesterday, I mentioned the trip we took to the Golden Gate bridge so Laurel could walk the bridge and check it off her bucket list.  I walked out part way just so I could get some pictures (if not for that, I’d NEVER walk out on the bridge because I hate bridges, especially ones that are SO HIGH up in the air!).  When we got to a certain spot on the bridge, there was a concrete post (a huge one!) with this sign on it.  I couldn’t help but think, “Duh!”  Of course a jump off the bridge can be fatal…”and tragic.”  Who would have thought otherwise?  Isn’t that precisely WHY people jump off the bridge…because they WANT it to be fatal?  And why both “fatal and tragic”?  Duh!!!!!  Oh, well.  Maybe it’s just me….

Sign out on the Golden Gate Bridge

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1860, former congressman Abraham Lincoln defeated three other candidates for the Presidency.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: alcoholics are twice as likely to confess to a drinking problem to a computer than to a human being.