Ramblings and Revolutions

I think, therefore I'm dangerous.

Skunked!

I love social media as a way to keep up with far-flung friends. It’s great to see what’s happening in the lives of people we care about, even though they’re a thousand miles away. And sometimes that prompts indelible memories.

Today, one friend posted a picture of one of his dogs. Poor pup, a rather large breed, had recently encountered a skunk. It was obvious the skunk was not impressed.

That reminded me of my college days, and the Summer of the Skunks.

I was working that summer at a state park near my home, manning the park’s mini golf shack. The park was beautifully wooded, and a very popular tourist destination.

That particular summer, it was also a very popular skunk destination. Not sure why,  because I haven’t seen it that way before or since, but that year, skunks were as common at the mini golf course as cats at a Little Friskies buffet. Because the course stayed open until 10 p.m., that led to some interesting encounters.

There were often several skunks wandering around as I closed up the shack for the evening.  Standard practice was to close the shack, take the day’s proceeds and receipts and drive to the park’s lodge to turn them in. Often, the little furry critters would be between the shack and my ancient VW Beetle at closing time. Not to worry. They were polite, and believe me, I was too. I always let them go first, wherever they chose to wander, and patiently waited my turn. In general, we worked well together, and everything was fine.

Trouble was, the skunks weren’t just at the mini golf course. They were all over the park. and that included on the road to the lodge. It could make for some tricky navigation.

One night, I closed the mini golf course,  gingerly navigated past the furry friends in the parking lot (including the pure white albino one with pink eyes) and drove to the lodge and turned in the required paperwork.

Mission accomplished. Time to head home.

Unfortunately, one of my furry friends picked the wrong time to cross the road.

There was no avoiding it. I hit it square with one wheel. With its dying breath, it did what skunks do.

Observant readers will recall the car in question was an old Beetle. Which is to say an original, air-cooled one.  With no a/c. On an 80-degree night. You guessed it, the windows were down. By the time I drove the 10 miles home, I reeked of skunk and so did the car. It wasn’t pretty.

I managed to shower. The car was a different story. No matter how many times I washed it over the next two years, there was always a bit of eau de skunk on hot days. That could explain my lousy social life at the time.

Two years. No air conditioning. Not fun. Seriously indelible memory.

This sums it up:

Dead Skunk

 

Re: Cosby

Hmmm.

One man telling the story his way.

Thirty-five women telling a different story.

Whom to believe?

 

Words of Wisdom

Sometimes you win.

Sometimes you lose.

And sometimes —

It rains.

—  Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh, 1988 —

Roll Call

Columbine.

Virginia Tech.

Aurora.

Fort Hood.

Newtown.

Washington Navy Yard.

Charleston.

Chattanooga.

And now Lafayette.

Where does the madness stop?

 

Media Overload!

It’s a crazy world we live in. And it seems like it’s getting crazier than ever.

Lately, I’ve been getting frustrated with a lot of things in pop culture, politics and the media. Of course, they’re all interrelated these days, so it’s hard to separate them. Between Ariana Grande licking donuts (or doughnuts if you prefer), Donald Trump’s thundering pronouncements, other people’s responses to those pronouncements, Trump’s hair,  and the regular everyday wackiness of life, it’s just gets nuttier day by day.

Social media doesn’t help either. I try to steer clear of heavy-handed political discussions, but I’ve been known to engage in friendly, logic-based debates from time to time. Unfortunately, it’s becoming harder to do so.  So many folks are so polarized these days that any attempt at rational discussion tends to quickly dissolve into partisan insults and “I’m right, you’re wrong, period” bickering.

Twitter? Who cares about a verbal skirmish between Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift? Who cares about One Direction? (OK, don’t answer that one.) Why does half the world, from BuzzFeed to the New York Times think I should have any interest in anything Lena Dunham or Amy Schumer have to say?

It’s just become too much. Maybe I need a few days off from mainstream, alternate and social media. A media fast, if you will. Sounds like a good plan.

But there are a couple of problems. First of all, I’m a hardcore news junkie. I don’t like not knowing what’s happening in the world. CNN, NYT, Washington Post, Slate, MSNBC, Salon,, Fox News, the Wall Street journal and my hometown paper are all a part of my daily news intake.

As for social media, I like staying in touch with friends. I want to know if good things, bad things or odd things are happening in their lives. Social media allows me to keep up with far-flung loved ones from one end of the country to the other. I’d have trouble stopping that even for a couple of days.

So it’s a dilemma, and the answer isn’t immediately clear. I need to cut back in several categories, sure. But I just can’t go cold turkey on any of it. Welcome to the information age.

Maybe it’s just time to put on the music and dance.

One Small Step…

Funny how things that first seem absolute wonders quickly become commonplace. All too often, we celebrate the present without properly appreciating the leaps we took in the past to get here.

This year, for example, we saw pictures of the (dwarf) planet Pluto for the first time. Three billion miles away from Earth, and we saw pictures of it. It took the New Horizons space probe nearly 10 years to reach Pluto, but reach Pluto it did. An astounding accomplishment.

We must not forget,  however, that the success of New Horizons is built on a sturdy framework of earlier space missions and accomplishments. And one of the biggest of all happened 46 years ago this week.

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man in history to set foot on any celestial body not called Earth. Imagine! A man on the moon! It’s something people the world over had dreamed about for millennia, and  two thirds of the way through the 20th century, a talented, brave team of men and women made it happen.  Imagine what Galileo would have thought!

Yet within half a decade, news reports from the time indicate,, Armstrong and fellow Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin’s names were nearly forgotten. With five more successful landings (only Apollo 13 failed to reach its destination), lunar exploration had become routine. In the aftermath of Vietnam and Watergate, the lunar landings were relegated to a dusty corner of history by many Americans.

Fortunately, we’ve come to appreciate the men who walked on the moon and the achievements of the NASA teams that put them there while using computer technology far less powerful than today’s average smartphone. We’ve built on the lessons of those missions and put shuttles into space and brought them safely back to earth. We’ve sent astronauts to live temporarily in an orbiting space station. And now, we’ve ventured all the way to Pluto.

I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Silk Screen Printed Wristbands

OK, we all know how much fun wristbands can be, and how great they are for raising both funds and awareness for causes that are important to you. Debossed wristbands such as the classic yellow one (you know which one I mean) have been popular for about a decade now, and they’re great for a simple text message. But what do you do if you need to reproduce a company logo, team mascot or other complex design?

That’s easy. You go with screen printed wristbands, of course. Unlike the debossed or embossed bands, silk screened wristbands don’t engrave the lettering into the band material, but print it directly onto the silicone surface. That means you can reproduce virtually any artwork you want, as long as it fits on the band. It’s a great way to show off designs in brilliant colors that other styles just can’t match.

The end result is a bold, bright way to promote your team, company or other organization. These bands are instantly eye-catching with their dramatic flair.

The downside of silk-screened wristbands? Unlike debossed or embossed bands, the design will wear off, eventually. But if you want to make an immediate splash, they can’t be beat.

Check with your favorite custom wristband supplier for more info about silk-screened wristbands.

Joy!

BLOOM COUNTY IS COMING BACK! WOO HOO!

(Can you tell it was always one of my favorite comic strips?)

Life is good!

Summer Trend — Micro Wristbands!

Someone once said “you can never be too thin.”  Fortunately, we’ve come to realize over the years that’s not quite true for people, but it’s still true for great-looking summer wristbands.

We’re all familiar with the standard half-inch wide wristband. But are you familiar with its chic cousin, the micro wristband? Micro bands are half the standard width, creating a great, modern look.

Micro bands feature your messaged silk screen printed onto the silicone wristband, so they’re great for just about any design. And they’re thin enough to wear more than one at a time.

Because micro wristbands are so fashionably thin, they catch the eye, in a good way. Your message or logo will stand out.

For more information, check out your favorite wristband supplier to find out how micro bands can promote your fundraising goals, organization, cause or business.

An Open Letter To Morning People

Dear Morning People:

We know you mean well.

Yes, you’re up and bouncing around, productive and ready to go at the drop of a snooze button. Yes, you’re alert and happy to be alive, a little songbird cheerfully twittering away in a happy little meadow. Yes, you want everyone to feel as great at 7 a.m. as you do. So you write articles about how wonderful it is to be a morning person, how to be more efficient, more productive, more energetic — how we can be morning people too.

For the love of caffeine, just freakin’ STOP.

Really, just stop. Not everyone is a morning person. Deal with it.

Some of us aren’t really awake until after at least the first cup — or pot, or 55-gallon drum — of coffee. Some of us take a couple of hours to get moving in the morning.

Personal safety tip — If you work with, or live with, someone who isn’t a morning person — DO NOT attempt to engage us in meaningful conversation until after we complete our morning coffee ritual. Trust me, we are not responsible for our actions prior to coffee intake.

And no, we don’t want to become morning people like you. We like our daily routine. We like waking up slowly and getting the day off to a gentle start — one that doesn’t involve someone trying to have a conversation with us for at least 30 minutes after we get out of bed.

Let us be for a little while in the morning, and pretty soon you’ll notice something. The closer it gets to noon, the more alert we become. We gradually get less grumpy, maybe even bordering on friendly.  Our energy levels rise. By afternoon, our productivity is peaking and we’re ready to take on the world.

By evening, when you’re winding down, we’re just getting wound up. When you’re ready to doze off on the couch, we’re ready to go out dancing. And while you’ve been incessantly telling us about the wonders of sunrises and new beginnings to the day, have you ever seen the magical possibilities that midnight can bring?

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not necessary to be a morning person to be successful. Plenty of us can, and do, maximize our potential in ways that don’t require us to be chipper and cheerful at some unearthly pre-breakfast hour.  So there’s no need to convert us to your schedule, thanks.

Just remember the cardinal rule: Give us some quiet time to wake up, and don’t get between us and the coffee maker. Ever.

Sincerely,

Night Owls

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