Bag of Randomness for Monday, July 24, 2017

  • Cowboys training camp has started which means college football is around the corner which means football season is basically here. I should be stoked, but I’m not. I think sports (especially football) has jaded me over the years and I didn’t like how it consumed me and diverted my priorities. It’s amazing how much sports loyalty can affect a person’s judgment and demeanor. Of course, a lot of how I feel now will most likely change when the first kickoff happens.
  • Dale Hansen has covered Cowboys training camp for 37-years. This is Jerry Jone’s 29th training camp. No one interviews Jerry better than Dale. You see a lot of reporters either in awe or intimidated by Jerry, but that doesn’t happen with Dale.
  • I may be the only person in all of the Metroplex not totally stoked about Jordan Spieth.
  • I’ve been withholding a lot of information about my physical and mental health. On one hand, I like to be transparent about my life. On the other, I don’t want to sound like I’m seeking sympathy, grasping for attention, or just being whiny.
  • When I was younger and noticed a lane closure up ahead, I used to automatically move over. However, after years of frustration at watching others not do the same and get through traffic faster than me, I started to stay in the open lane as long as possible. Apparently, there was a study conducted and the results were posted last year:
    • It may sound like a breach of etiquette to wait until the last minute to merge, but traffic engineers and transportation departments in several states are promoting that exact move, sometimes with mixed results as they try to overcome drivers’ ingrained habits.
    • Colorado started to promote the late merge during a highway project more than 10 years ago. Signs were posted, starting two miles from the point of the lane closing. The first signs read, “Use both lanes during congestion.” The next signs said, “Use both lanes to the merge point.” When the lane was ending, the last signs read: “Take turns. Merge here.” The result? A 15 percent increase in the volume of cars moving through the work zone and a 50 percent decrease in the length of the line.

  • Wrigley Juicy Fruit gum was the first item sold using a bar code scanner.
    • On 26 June 1974, Clyde Dawson pulled a 10-pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit gum out of his basket and it was scanned by Sharon Buchanan at 8:01 am. The pack of gum and the receipt are now on display in the Smithsonian Institution. It was the first commercial appearance of the UPC.
  • Wisconsin Company To Implant Microchips In Employees
    • A Wisconsin company is about to become the first in the U.S. to offer microchip implants to its employees. Yes, you read that right. Microchip implants.

    • More than 50 Three Square Market employees are having the devices implanted starting next week. Each chip is about the size of a single grain of rice. Along with purchasing market kiosk items, employees will be able to use the chip to get into the front door and log onto their computers. Each chip costs $300 and the company is picking up the tab. They’re implanted between a person’s thumb and forefinger.

  • Bono says Where the Streets Have No Name is ‘unfinished’
  • Politico has an article on Hope Hicks. I’ve mentioned 28-year-old Trump aid before because her youth and beauty stands out and she has a local connection because she attended SMU. Despite like many her age and in the same profession, she does a great job of keeping out of the spot light. For instance, she’s not on Twitter and her Instagram is set to private. I just have a feeling she’s going to have a long career in politics, with lots of power, but one of those you never hear about. Highlights of the article:
    • The polite, soft-spoken 28-year-old newbie to Washington politics holds the lofty title of director of strategic communications, pulls down the top White House salary of $179,700 – the same as strategist Steve Bannon and chief of staff Reince Priebus – but operates outside of any organizational chart.
    • Internally, she has joked that her title is not about strategically communicating with the press – it’s about strategically communicating with the president. She knows that telling Trump what not to say, ahead of an interview, is a losing proposition. She has accepted that he will say things that people find shocking, or upsetting – but she long ago made the decision that she deeply believes in Trump as a leader, and that she wasn’t going to change or judge a 70-year-old man whose career highs have been based on trusting his own instincts.
    • Internally, she has become something of a Trump whisperer – other aides rely on Hicks’ judgement to gauge when is a good time to speak to the president. “
    • Some Trump critics are sympathetic to Hicks’ task of managing an uncontrollable personality. “She’s doing an excellent job with the worst client in the history of the world,” said Stu Loeser, former press secretary to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
  • A few more thoughts and tidbits from my book about the relationships amongst presidents:
    • In November 1968 when Nixon was running for president, Henry Kissinger said Nixon was “unfit to be president” and “a disaster” waiting to happen, and thus, didn’t vote for him. He further said, Richard Nixon is the most dangerous of all the men running to have as president.” And as history would have it, started to work for Nixon as his National Security Advisor the following January and then later as his Secretary of State. I guess history does repeat itself, as many Republicans who have opposed Trump vehemently on moral/ethical/political grounds are now working for him. Some have no choice but to work with him (like Ted Cruz) but many have chose to work for him. Mitt Romney would have been Kissinger-like, I suppose if he took the Secretary of State job offered by Trump.
    • Eisenhower couldn’t attend the marriage of his grandson, David, to Nixon’s daughter because of his poor health. This was the grandson who Ike named Camp David after. NBC tried to broadcast a private live feed of the wedding to Ike’s hospital room at Walter Reed but failed. Actually, the last eleven months of Eisenhower’s life was spent at Water Reed, and he was actually buried on David’s birthday.
      • David’s best man was the guy who played Gopher on ‘The Love Boat’, who later became a congressman.
      • A picture of David under the Camp David sign.
    • Before Nixon wrote his first inaugural speech, he reread every inaugural address.
    • Nixon didn’t keep President Johnson’s recording system, he had it replaced with an upgraded version that recorded automatically instead of at the flip of a switch. I always thought he utilized the old one.
    • The Roosevelt Room used to be called “the fish room” before Nixon renamed it. It was called “the fish room” simply because FDR kept an aquarium in it.
  • The United States and Canada at the same latitudes as Europe
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I thought use of the song would be cliche

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Bag of Randomness for Friday, July 21, 2017

  • Yesterday, Norm and Donovan of The TICKET were broadcasting nearby so I decided to pay them a visit. Norm was the warmest, kindness, most gentle person I’ve encountered in a very long while. Donovan was also very friendly, but he doesn’t carry that old man charm like Norm.
    • Not a lot of folks were watching the broadcast when I arrived, so I was the lone audience member for a while. When Norm was doing a segment with Donovan, he kept eye contact with me, as if we were having a conversation the entire time. An old neighbor stated this happened to him a long time ago.
    • Talking to Norm was surreal, it’s exactly as you’d imagine. He’s like a computer program full of Ticket drops you’ve heard over and over again. You can tell he’s full of joy and just enjoys what he’s doing. He was engaged with anyone who approached and just continued to talk sports with no worry about running late getting back on air.
    • I gave him an idea for the Norm-a-thon – auction off a chance to do a ticker. He loved the idea.
    • I asked him who is the one DFW area athlete who disappointed him or broke his heart the most. His initial response was his classic, “Oh, geez…..” The answer is obvious if you think about it for a second…Roy Tarpley.
    • Watching him do a commercial spot was interesting as he didn’t use any notes. You’d think a lot of the spots were recorded, but no, they are done live.
  • We have a friend who was a minister at a Baptist church but will now become a minister at Highland Park Presbyterian Church. Around these parts, I don’t think working for different denominations is very common. And if I had to guess, it’s easier to go Baptist to Presbyterian than the other way around.
  • I’m not a fan of traveling whatsoever, but I love the scenery in the show and wouldn’t mind doing something like this – For $2,185, you can travel Game of Thrones’ Seven Kingdoms
  • How much do I enjoy mowing my own lawn? So much so, I do it with back pain, but with help with some hydrocodone. That stuff doesn’t make me sleepy, but it does mask the pain. It also gives me a strange clarity of thought and I become very talkative. Maybe that’s just the high I hear people talk about.
  • While eating dinner, DaughterGeeding excused herself from the table, walked about 20-feet away, and then let out a fart that scared the dog. We started to laugh and with a serious face, she tried to explain she was trying to be polite because we said no farting at the table.
  • Something Strange in Usain Bolt’s Stride
    • Last month, researchers here at Southern Methodist University, among the leading experts on the biomechanics of sprinting, said they found something unexpected during video examination of Bolt’s stride: His right leg appears to strike the track with about 13 percent more peak force than his left leg. And with each stride, his left leg remains on the ground about 14 percent longer than his right leg.
  • Atlas Obscura – How a Group of ’70s Radicals Tried (and Failed) to Invade Disneyland
    • On August 6, 1970, Disneyland abruptly shut down about five hours early. Around 30,000 visitors were kicked out of the park, and it wasn’t due to a national crisis. The motivating factor was a group of about 300 young “Yippies,” who entered the park with grand plans of capturing Tom Sawyer Island, liberating Minnie Mouse, and cooking Porky Pig.
  • Texas is getting an Africa themed water park.

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The moment a river bed filled with water

Thomas Beresford filmed water streaming down Long Gill towards the River Twiss, near Ingleton.

The North Yorkshire County Council worker waited more than an hour to capture the moment but said it was “worth it”.


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Watching A Rocket Launch From Space

We pointed an on-orbit Dove satellite towards the Baikanour Cosmodrome to capture the images used in this animation of the launch of our latest flock of 48 satellites on board the Soyuz rocket.

More here.

To create this animation, we pointed a Dove approximately 50 degrees off-nadir towards the pad, capturing one still image per second of the fixed target as the Dove travelled overhead at an approximate speed of seven kilometers per second (or 15,658 MPH). Then our Imaging Team cropped and stitched the stills together. All in all, this short clip covers about two and a half minutes in real-time including lift off and flight.

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Bag of Randomness for Thursday, July 20, 2017

  • It was a real bummer hearing Senator John McCain has brain cancer. The announcement somewhat reminded me or felt similar to when I first heard Senator Ted Kennedy had brain cancer. Both are icons of the Senate, and you get this feeling it’s now going to be a long goodbye, with the public judging his health with every public appearance. I thought something was a bit askew when I heard Senator Mitch McConnell was delaying the vote on the healthcare bill and then withdrawing it completely two days later.
  • There are a lot of things I don’t like about President Trump and question his leadership often. And while I disagree with him on policy, he impressed me yesterday when he invited all the Republican senators to the White House for lunch and then publically called them out, right to their face where they all had to swallow their pride. It seems like something Teddy Roosevelt would have done.
    • “For seven years you promised the American people that you would repeal Obamacare. People are hurting. Inaction is not an option and frankly I don’t think we should leave town unless we have a health insurance plan.”
  • Toronto StarSix months of spelling mistakes from the Trump White House: Analysis
    • Forget Trump’s tweets. From “lasting peach” to “putting our minors back to work,” the White House has produced a stream of mistakes in formal statements that would be unusual even for a small-town mayor. 
  • This shouldn’t be a ‘Game of Thrones’ spoiler, and if so, it’s a minor one. But you may not have noticed in the last episode that Sansa is now wearing her hair like Cersei once did.
  • I love that the original cast narrates this audio book – The X-Files: Cold Cases
  • I drove by a shiny black 18-wheeler and playfully wondered if was one operated by Knight Industries and if the trailer door was about to lower so K.I.T.T. could drive inside of it. Speaking of K.I.T.T., I watch this video about it and discovered it’s not pleasant to drive at all (here and here), there’s not even a rear-view mirror.
  • If you are a fan of the history of firearms and/or mechanical systems, you may enjoy the Forgotten Weapons YouTube channel. And somewhat related, this guy opens old and new MRE’s to see what they look like and consumes some of them.
  • How US gun culture compares with the world
  • The creators of the “Game of Thrones’ television series are working on a strange but interesting new show for HBO. I can’t put my finger on it, but I’m uncomfortable with it.
    • “Confederate,” a series from David Benioff and D.B. Weiss that takes place in a reality where the southern states successfully seceded from the Union, “giving rise to a nation in which slavery remains legal and has evolved into a modern institution,” according to the network’s description. The show “chronicles the events leading to the Third American Civil War,” with characters ranging from freedom fighters and abolitionists to slave hunters and politicians, HBO said.
  • GQ – Waffle House Might Be The Only Thing America Can Agree On
    • “The very best restaurants not only fill us with food, they also provide some sort of emotional sustenance. The most comforting thing about eating at any Waffle House location is the constancy it offers. The world may be changing radically as quickly as we can reload our Twitter feeds, but Waffle House has mostly stayed the same, and offering the exact same menu and dining experience at every location provides a certain familiarity. I love the staff shouting “Hello!” as I walk into any Waffle House. I love the retro-cool hanging orb lambs. I love the tissue-thin napkins that are barely effective, the laminated menus, the wire baskets on each table that serve…
  • – Why does U2 irk so many people? A look at their struggle for pop hits and social justice
    • I identified with this part, but I’m not from Nashville:
      • As a native of Nashville, I would like to pretend that the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and the beloved community that fostered him entered my radar through my judicious study of civil rights history and culture. This would be a lie. It was MTV and U2’s decision to craft and promote what proved to be a radio hit called “Pride (In the Name of Love),” commemorating King as one more pioneer of human seriousness (one more in the name of love) along a trajectory of individuals who chose to give their lives as gifts to others, an international parade of conscience.
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Never bet on green

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The little cowboy

The little cowboy

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Something my fellow U2 fans may appreciate

Article – Irish group New Airs have just released their latest recording, a stunning interpretation of U2’s hit I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

In some ways, it’s better, and she’s better looking than Bono.

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Bag of Randomness for Tuesday, July 18, 2017

  • I used an air horn for the first time in my life yesterday. I woke WifeGeeding up with it to wish her a happy birthday early in the morning. There’s a lot of things I can’t provide for her, but I will always be full of surprises.
  • When I hear the name Barbara I think of the Beach Boys song “Barbara Anne” which then makes me think of the time Zack, Slater, and Screech lip synched the song.
  • Today’s dose of ‘MURICA! – O.J. Simpson’s Parole Hearing Will Air Live On ESPN
  • Armchair Political Consultant – It was great that the president showcased American made products from all 50 states at the White House, but I would have advised him to announced that all of his products, as well as Ivanka’s, would now be solely made in the United States as well. Any loss in profit from manufacturing wouldn’t compare to the publicity and benefit gained in campaigning.
  • The kids have been fascinated by magic as of late so I took them to a show last weekend. Tickets were twenty bucks for VIP seating and ten for general admission, which I thought was a great deal. However, there was a $20 overall ticket charge which couldn’t be avoided by either online or ticket window. On top of that, there was a minimum two item purchase per patron and an automatic 18% gratuity was added. But we were fortunate for purchasing the general admission tickets and being seated in the front row.
  • I was listening to NPR’s “This American Life” on the way home after eating with some friends on Saturday. The segment I caught was a bit odd and then turned very heavy. The host gave warning the material wouldn’t be appropriate for children and then started the segment which was about the amount of free porn that’s available online and how performers are now making money by making customized fetish material. As you’d expect, some were quite a bit out there and some were strangely ordinary. But the focus of the segment was the request from a customer who simply asked for a performer to be fully dressed, sit in a chair with her legs crossed, and look into the camera and tell him everything is going to be alright and there’s no need to resort to suicide. The performance company didn’t charge the guy and tried to contact him but never got a reply. Everyone associated with the shoot was very emotional and took great lengths to make sure it was their best work. The actress herself was deeply emotional. They shot the video as requested and sent it off, but ominously, never heard back.
  • New York Times Op-Ed – Why I’m Leaving the Southern Baptist Convention
  • I watched Arrival recently. The ending and contemplating the unique overall storyline had me deep in thought for several hours.
    • If you could view your life as an image, a story told in one nonlinear and infinite symbol, would you change it? What if the experience of knowing the future changed a person?
    • Is it best to embrace the sum of your life regardless of the tragic moments within it?
      • My parents gave me a dog when I was a kid and it lived for 17-years. Many years later I asked my mom if she would consider owning another, and she told me the heartache would be too hard to ever own another pet. She didn’t think the investment in developing a relationship with a pet outweighed the loss of a pet. I, obviously, think different. Well, maybe she didn’t quite so much think it was not worth it, but she’d rather avoid a road she knows will lead to heartache. If you’ve seen the movie, this totally would make sense.
    • One thing I really appreciated was naming the two aliens Abbott and Costello. It’s perfect once you understanding the complexity of communicating and their “Who’s on first” bit.
    • Something I never considered while watching other movies about aliens arriving on Earth is how each country would respond. Would a country’s first reaction be militarily and attack, would a nation start peacefully and attempt a friendly relationship? For instance, what would happen if aliens landed in North Korea first as opposed to Canada?
    • All of this “communicating” reminds me of my favorite part in the movie Thirteen Days. An admiral orders warning shots to be fired over Soviet vessels and gets into a heated exchanged with Secretary of Defense Bob McNamara who explains that the Soviets may not understand those to be warning shots.

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Dog Rescues a Fawn

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Proud Adoptive Parents

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