Bag of Randomness for Monday, March 30, 2020

Here’s the story behind that photo – Blaze engulfs historic Baltimore church, topples its steeple

BALTIMORE — Baltimore firefighters battled a four-alarm blaze that sent flames shooting through the steeple of a church that traces its origins back more than 150 years.

Photos of the fire posted by the Baltimore City Fire Department on Twitter showed orange flames coming from the top of the steeple of the Urban Bible Fellowship Church. Firefighters used ladder trucks to spray water at the blaze, but flames eventually caused the top of the steeple to tumble down. A school next door also was damaged.

There are a lot of Christians virgins who have saved themselves for their wedding night only for the ceremony to be delayed. I have a feeling a lot of them are going to have a private ceremony, consummate, and then have a public ceremony with family and friends when this is all over with.

The Weather Channel’s website and app will provide you will current COVID-19 data about your local area.

East Texas news – City of Canton cancels First Monday Trade Days for first time in 170-year history

Arkansas woman murdered by same person who murdered her mother 23 years agoThe daughter was killed in the same house where her mother was killed.

President Trump never made appearances in the White House Briefing Room until the Coronavirus outbreak, but I think he’s only doing so because it’s the next best thing than speaking at one of his rallies.

The media sure does look for any opportunity to label a person or a group of folks in a profession a hero.

Columbia Sportswear employees to receive regular pay as CEO cuts own salary to $10,000

Random tidbits about the old television series Alice.

  • I had no idea it was based upon a Martin Scorsese film, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.
  • The waitress Jolene, was related to the Dukes of Hazzard‘s Jefferson Davis “Boss” Hogg. In one episode Sorrell Booke guest stars in this role, along with fellow Dukes character Deputy Enos Strate (Sonny Shroyer).
  • I knew Flo left the show and started her own place, but I didn’t know it was in Fort Worth.
  • In case you forgot how the show wrapped up:
    • After 9 years of trying, Alice finally gets a recording contract and is moving to Nashville with Travis Marsh. Vera announces she is pregnant and decides to be a full-time mother, Elliott having been promoted from officer to detective. Jolene’s “Granny Gums” dies and leaves her enough money to open her own beauty parlor in her hometown. Besides all three waitresses suddenly leaving simultaneously, by an amazing coincidence Mel has just sold the diner for a large amount of money to a real-estate developer and must close within days. On closing day, he surprisingly gives each waitress a $5,000 farewell bonus. 
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Bag of Randomness for Friday, March 27, 2020

It’s not that this week went by fast, it just went by faster than last week.

DaughterGeeding owns an iPod which looks like an old iPhone. She has several alarms set on it to remind her to do her chores and get ready for her online classes. But I noticed she has two daily alarms named “Visit Dad”.

The next Jurassic Park should star Joe Exotic of The Tiger King running his own dinosaur park in Oklahoma.

“The virus makes the timeline.” — Anthony Fauci

One thing my now-retired pastor used to remind his congregation about is the true meaning of the word “apocalypse”. Most folks use it to mean “end times” but it actually means “an unveiling or unfolding of things not previously known.”

Inside the Story of How H-E-B Planned for the PandemicThe grocer started communicating with Chinese counterparts in January and was running tabletop simulations a few weeks later. (But nothing prepared it for the rush on toilet paper.)

San Antonio-based H-E-B has been a steady presence amid the crisis. The company began limiting the amounts of certain products customers were able to purchase in early March; extended its sick leave policy and implemented social distancing measures quickly; limited its hours to keep up with the needs of its stockers; added a coronavirus hotline for employees in need of assistance or information; and gave employees a $2 an hour raise on March 16, as those workers, many of whom are interacting with the public daily during this pandemic, began agitating for hazard pay.

This isn’t the first time H-E-B has done a good job of managing a disaster—it played an important role in helping the Gulf Coast recover from Hurricane Harvey in the immediate aftermath of the storm—which led us to ask: How did a regional supermarket chain develop systems that allow it to stay ahead of a crisis as big as this one? We spoke with nearly a dozen employees, executives, and customers to better understand—in their words—how H-E-B has taken on its unique role in shaping its business around the needs of Texans in the midst of trying circumstances.

Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene is mentioned in this article. I interned there under the base commander and loved it.

When Secret Mystery Planes Landed At The Air Bases Where I Was StationedIt may sound like fiction, but on rare occasions, ordinary air bases have extraordinary mystery visitors. It happened to me, twice.

Years later at my home station of Dyess Air Force Base, an operational readiness exercise was interrupted by a similar call from the command post. Evacuate the flightline and evacuate it now. An aircraft no one can lay eyes on was diverting to Dyess Air Force Base. Why? Because it is. Go inside and stay away from the windows.

It may not be as isolated as Diego Garcia, but Dyess is to the West of Abilene, Texas. It’s situated just outside of town and the flightline lies in the country. On the rare occasions that the flightline has no running engines or APUs, it gets very quiet.

Texas Roadhouse CEO gives up salary to pay front-line employees during COVID-19 outbreak

The CEO of Texas Roadhouse restaurants is giving up his salary and bonus for the year in order to pay the chain’s front line employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

MarketWatch reports W. Kent Taylor will forgo his base salary and bonus from the pay period starting March 18 through Jan. 7, 2021. In 2018, Louisville Business First reported Taylor’s total compensation was $1.3 million with his base salary being $525,000.

Right out of central casting.

Dr. Anthony Fauci Runs 3.5 Miles a Day—Even While He Works 19 Hours Fighting a Pandemic

Dr. Fauci doughnuts sell like hotcakes at NY doughnut shop

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Bag of Randomness for Thursday, March 26, 2020

  • My wife and I both took a typing class in high school. But unlike my wife, I had to use an actual typewriter. I remember being bewildered there was no exclamation point key. To compensate, we would have to use four different keys: the shift key, the apostrophe, the backspace, and the period.
  • For Lent, I wish some of my friends would refrain from using the exclamation point. They tend to overuse it by including it in every typed communication.
  • When I use an exclamation point, I only try to use one, I never have a need to double or triple an exclamation point at the end of a sentence.
  • I think the meaning of the exclamation point has changed over the last decade. It used to convey intensity, but now it seems to convey sincerity. Replying back “Thanks.” can seem pointed or even snarly. But replying with “Thanks!” makes it seem likes something is really appreciated and has a certain niceness to it.
  • As for its origin, one theory states it is derived from a Latin exclamation of joy (io). Up until the Fifties, it was referred to as “bang”.
  • I’m a fan of the interabang: (‽).  It’s intended to combine the functions of the question mark and the exclamation point. Scott Pelley of  60 Minutes actually did a book signing at Interbang Books in Dallas, which was later heavily damaged by a tornado.

Amid a nationwide shortage of masks, Amish are sewing 13,000 to donate in Lancaster County

This story is about seven years old but still darn interesting.

I was swallowed by a hippo‘There was no transition at all, no sense of approaching danger. It was as if I had suddenly gone blind and deaf’

I reached over to grab his outstretched hand but as our fingers were about to touch, I was engulfed in darkness. There was no transition at all, no sense of approaching danger. It was as if I had suddenly gone blind and deaf.

I was aware that my legs were surrounded by water, but my top half was almost dry. I seemed to be trapped in something slimy. There was a terrible, sulphurous smell, like rotten eggs, and a tremendous pressure against my chest. My arms were trapped but I managed to free one hand and felt around – my palm passed through the wiry bristles of the hippo’s snout. It was only then that I realised I was underwater, trapped up to my waist in his mouth.

I wriggled as hard as I could, and in the few seconds for which he opened his jaws, I managed to escape. I swam towards Evans, but the hippo struck again, dragging me back under the surface. I’d never heard of a hippo attacking repeatedly like this, but he clearly wanted me dead.

It’s been funny witnessing WfieGeeding try to teleconference with her peers as they prepare lesson plans. She’s finally getting to experience what it’s like in my world. I’m reminded of this old conference call bit.

Coronavirus Has Slashed Global Air Pollution. This Interactive Map Shows How

How One Movie Theater Owner Is Selling Curbside Popcorn to Pay His Employees

Since he couldn’t sell movie tickets, O’Meara took inspiration from a nearby McDonald’s that was offering only takeout. Last Wednesday, he started to sell “curbside concessions,” hawking large tubs of popcorn for $3.

“We have a parking lot the width of a sidewalk and nobody else is open, so there’s plenty of space,” he said. “I’ll do what I can to get these kids paid.”

On his first afternoon in business, O’Meara sold $25 worth of popcorn in 45 minutes. He is now averaging $300 to $400 a day in concession sales.

My hometown of Mineral Wells is crazy again. I had no idea the original sign was made out of porcelain. I never understood why that entrance to Mineral Wells was chosen for the sign, I’d think more visitors would arrive to the town from Weatherford than Palo Pinto.

Back in the day—from 1933 to 1958—travelers on the Bankhead Highway were greeted with an unusual sign as they drove through the heart of Palo Pinto County’s biggest town. “Welcome to Mineral Wells,” read the placard spanning the roadway, “the Home of Crazy.” An arrow on the sign pointed toward the seven-story Crazy Hotel, two blocks away. Postcards of the novel greeting often showed the 14-story Baker Hotel towering in the background.

After the city removed the original porcelain sign in 1958, it went missing. Reports of the sign surfaced from places like a Dallas junkyard, but nobody ever found it. But now Mineral Wells residents can once again salute the sign after a local group raised money to erect a replacement earlier this month over State Highway 180.

Suzanne Vega’s a capella version of “Tom’s Diner” was instrumental in the development of the MP3.

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Bag of Randomness for Wednesday, March 25, 2020

This is the face of a man who is:

A. Doing his best to ward off COVID-19.
B. About to carry out a Dexter inspired murder.
C. Having a section of his house painted.
D. ___________

Like the rest of the quarantined world, I’m enamored with Netflix’s The Tiger King. You’ll see him wear a University of Texas longhorn hat throughout a lot of it, but what perplexes me is why on earth isn’t he wearing an LSU tiger hat? Seriously, how can he not be an LSU fan? Maybe he’s not a fan of purple and yellow, which would also mean he wouldn’t be a Hardin-Simmons fan. Fun LSU/HSU fact. When HSU started their football program back up in the early Nineties, they wore old LSU uniforms for games. Here are a couple of pictures from that era. Hardin-Simmons even interlocked or linked the “HSU” on the helmet as LSU does. HSU isn’t very good at being original at things. I thought our “All School Sing” was an original but then found Baylor lose it. Now, they even have special ring ceremonies like aTm. And for hand gestures, it’s the same as Texas Tech’s “get your guns up”.

The world needs a reboot of the Ice Capades more than it will ever need mustard. First World Problem: Even though I’ll order a Whataburger plain and dry, sometimes they put mustard on it. Usually, I’m not petty enough to return it, but there’ no way you can scrape off mustard, the bun absorbs it and the taste is overpowering, no matter how much ketchup I add.

Another First World Problem: Television reporters reporting from home who use Skype type applications never properly mic themselves. The simply use the mic on their phone or laptop and it sounds like they are talking into a tin can. They are professionals or work with professionals who can easily instruct them on how to attach a mic and connect it.

Lately, some of my not-so-close friends have started to shave or clip their hair on the shortest setting. As soon as they see me, the first thing they do is tell me they finally took the plunge, don’t understand why they didn’t do it sooner, and say that I was an inspiration and followed my lead. Next thing you know, they will start showing up with beer bellies telling me the same thing.

I’ve been reluctant in making an appointment with a pain management doctor concerning my back pain. I suppose I’m worried it’s a way of admitting defeat in some way or confronting a fear. A few times I’ve called to make the appointment but hung up after three rings, for some reason I was couldn’t make the commitment. However, yesterday I met with a pain management specialist and was really impressed with the doctor’s understanding, bedside manner, compassion, and knowledge. It’s like he totally knew what he was doing, duh. I also guess it helped that he was really familiar with my spinal surgeon, they are in the same building. Regarding COVID-19, the visit was everything you’d expect. Nurses were wearing masks and gloves, as was the doctor. Except for an examination of my body, he stayed about six feet away. Other than a slight change in medication, I was scheduled for an MRI and we’ll go from there. I have a follow-up appointment, but it’s scheduled in which the doctor will call me at a set date and time through some sort of telemedicine app.

Driving around northern Dallas yesterday felt like a drive on Christmas morning where parking lots are empty and traffic is fairly light. It would be a good time for fixing potholes or any other type of road construction.

Smartphone data reveal which Americans are social distancing (and not)D.C. gets an ‘A’ while Wyoming earns an ‘F’ for following coronavirus stay-at-home advice, based on the locations of tens of millions of phones

On Tuesday, a company called Unacast that collects and analyzes phone GPS location data launched a “Social Distancing Scoreboard” that grades, county by county, which residents are changing behavior at the urging of health officials. It uses the reduction in the total distance we travel as a rough index for whether we’re staying put at home.

How do they know that? Efforts to track public health during the coronavirus pandemic are a reminder of the many ways phones reveal our personal lives, both as individuals and in the aggregate. Unacast’s location data comes from games, shopping and utility apps that tens of millions of Americans have installed on their phones — information the company normally analyzes for retailers, real estate firms and marketers. It’s part of a shadowy world of location tracking that consumers often have little idea is going on.

Spain turns ice rink into a morgue as coronavirus deaths pile up


What postponing the Summer Olympics means for NBC

Former Chair of the Federal Reserve of the United States, Alan Greenspan (Mr. Andrea Mitchell), recently turned 94. I did a brief news search on him, and it appears he’s still active and working.

Whatever It Takes: How the Fed Aims to Rescue the EconomyThe central bank is using tactics from the last financial crisis and deploying new ones to keep money flowing. Here are the basics.

The U.S. Navy’s Big Beautiful New Carrier Has Hilariously Messed Up Toilets

It has toilets designed so incredibly poorly that the entire system needs to be unclogged and flushed out with acid, yes acid, on a regular basis, at the cost of $400,000 a pop.

Navy sailors test positive for new coronavirus aboard a ship at seaThree sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt tested positive for the virus.

CBS offers a free month of All Access so you can binge-watch ‘Picard’ Patrick Stewart made the announcement ahead of the season finale.

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