Bag of Randomness for Friday, January 18, 2019

  • Oddly, we received two Christmas cards in the mail yesterday. Both had a postmark date after the first of the year, were from different states, and both wrote an apology for sending them so late.
  • I’ll give President Trump political points for delaying Speaker Pelosi’s Air Force travel overseas. He’s right, she shouldn’t be traveling when the government is shut down. Though, I think he would have scored more political points with her actually being over there and drawing attention to it while he is home abroad. But I’ll also note, Pelosi has done her part, the House already passed legislation to reopen the government. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has twice blocked the House bill to reopen the government, not even allowing it to be voted on and rejected a compromise proposal from his own caucus. He reasons nothing should be voted on unless he’s sure the president will sign it. McConnell is out of the spotlight, probably scoring the most political points out of them all.
  • I’m a government contractor and very, very fortunate my assigned project is deemed essential enough that I continue to work and receive a paycheck. Not all my coworkers are as fortunate. My company has this program in which we can donate any unused vacation we rolled over from last year (we can roll over up to 40 hours) to coworkers who aren’t able to work and would go without pay. Unlike federal workers, contractors won’t receive any backpay. This vacation donation program was employee-inspired and implemented during a previous shutdown. My company has treated me exceptionally well over the years. Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of my back surgery. Unprovoked, they gave me an extra two weeks time off with pay to ensure my back properly healed and that I didn’t return to work sooner than need be. They actually offered me more time than that. With that in mind, and knowing I have the added benefit of working from home unlike my coworkers in DC, I donated the entirety of my 40 hours. The CEO of my company was recently interviewed for this CNN article about how she’s trying to protect her workforce during this government shutdown. In it, she states how the bank was willing to extend her line of credit, and she has kept the equity line of credit open on her home to fund payroll if needed. Other options for our company should the shutdown extends:
    • The first is to pay employees 80% of what they are owed, she said. The second is to let her staff go so they can apply for unemployment, then rehire them when the government opens again, and the third is to institute rolling leave without pay. She’s concerned that if she gets to that place, she’ll start to lose her top talent.
  • While my back isn’t where I’d like it to be a year from surgery, I don’t regret having the surgery. It would eat at me if never had the surgery and be left with the thought of what would have been. I pretty much knew the answer of going through life without the surgery. It’s hard to remember pain, but I think I’m better now than I was before. However, I take responsibility and accept I would feel better about the whole experience if I were consistent with my daily exercise and stretching.
  • The Texas Rangers ballclub still have not announced what playing surface their new stadium will have. It’s speculated it will be natural, but not grass.
    • Crushed coconut husks and sand make up a large percentage of the “infill” in Shaw Sports Turf’s new baseball-specific B1K (as in “batting 1.000) turf. The mixture is designed to enhance the playability for baseball and the safety for players. It is a dramatic change from last generation of turf, which uses rubber pellets as the infill.
  • While reading this article on Sean Payton’s time assisting coaching Liberty Christian in Argyle during his forced sabbatical, I noticed one picture was taken at Camp Copass in Denton.  I volunteered there a couple of weeks for two or three summers.
  • Kodak’s official date system, one with a 13-month calendar of equal 28-days and instituted by George Eastman back in 1928, was used until 1989.
    • The system, originally proposed by a chap called Moses B. Cotsworth in 1902, is called the “International Fixed Calendar”. It splits the year into 13 months of 28 days each, with one or two days each year not belonging to any month. The extra month, called “Sol”, appeared between June and July.
    • For some of you, “Sol” will make you think of Matt Damon poop potatoes.
  • Few things make me feel dumber than trying to use a fake drawer handle on furniture, or fake pockets on clothes.
  • Every work day I feel like I’m trapped in the ’90s.  My neighbor’s car alarm goes off twice a day despite nothing touching it. Car alarms seem like such a dated problem.
  • Thankfully, I haven’t experienced this problem in quite a while. Writing with a pencil, making a mistake, and to make things better, trying to erase only to find out the eraser is old and dried up and it just smears things up to holy hell.
  • Sticker residue from stickers which are supposed to come off grind my gears. My gears are further ground by those stickers which tear leaving only the bottom paper layer.
  • Jeff Fisher, who looks like he should have had a career NASCAR rather than the NFL, doesn’t have that great of a career win/loss record, .512. He only coached two teams, but consider this, those two teams played “home games” in five different cities and six different stadiums. Jerry Jones has an interesting relationship with him, and I can totally see him as the Cowboys next coach, not that Redball is going anywhere soon.
  • The last book I read about presidential history stated Nancy Reagan made couples sit at different tables at state dinners to encourage conversation and interaction. This was of great concern to Sylvester Stallone because his girlfriend at the time, Brigette Nielsen, didn’t like to be left alone in the company of strangers, so he called ahead and made a special request for them to be seated together, which was granted. Stallone also had one of his representatives reach out to the Reagan ’84 campaign with another request, he wanted to present President Reagan with the boxing gloves and robe he wore in Rocky IV, but a now-famous former lawyer reviewed the requested publicity stunt.
    • “The young lawyer wrote back up the chain of command and said, ‘There has already been enough publicity for Rocky, President Reagan has been more than generous with his time. I recommend we decline.’ And you know who wrote that? John Roberts, who is now Chief Justice of the [Supreme Court of the] United States,”
  • President Reagan’s sense of humor on full display during a West Berlin speech when a balloon unexpectedly and loudly popped. Quick-witted, he was. I’ve seen in some social media circles state this speech was given two months after his assassination attempt, but that’s dead wrong. The assassination attempt was on March 30,  1981, this speech was in June 1987 (01:20:15).
  • A series of new animations by a NASA scientist show just how zippy — and also how torturously slow — the speed of light can be.

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6 Responses to Bag of Randomness for Friday, January 18, 2019

  1. Ben W. says:

    The scope and scale of the universe is mind boggling. We are so insignificant.

    I’m glad you’re back on a semi-regular basis. I hope the 2-3 posts/week format is working for you. I missed you when you were gone, but I’m glad you took the time for yourself.

  2. Jason says:

    So, giving points to Trump, and thinking he should have waited until Pelosi was actually in a war zone to out her and her travel plans to score points, AND thinking McConnell is coming out ahead in this fiasco?

    I guess that’s the luxury that actually getting paid will give you, but man is it tone deaf.

  3. RPM says:

    I thought Pelosi’s response was gold. Trump is rapidly losing the optics on this.

    Jeff Fisher is Mr. 7 and 9. He ruined several NFL careers in the process.

  4. Sara D says:

    I grew up in a neighborhood that started to have drive by’s right before we moved. Balloons have always been a “thing” for me even though I totally know everything is safe. I would not be that chill with that balloon popping. I would have at least flinched. And I moved away 20 years ago lol.

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