Bag of Randomness for Monday, May 13, 2024

  • Millions of people simultaneously marked the Aurora Borealis off their bucket list Friday night. What an unexpected joy for people across the world to share! It was a moment when there were no partisan walls but one in which everyone was in awe and unity. Someone needs to write a song about this unexpected blessing. I really like how the lights move in this one.

    But I like this one most of all.

  • Another but slightly different blessing coming from the skies.

  • I needed new tires to pass my upcoming state car inspection, which will be an extra $200 this year because of Texas’ new law on electric vehicles. Since EV owners don’t buy gasoline, we aren’t able to contribute to any taxes that help benefit our roads. This law rightfully fixes that. It stinks waiting in the store lobby for your vehicle to get outfitted with new tires, which always takes hours. Such a thing wasn’t much of a problem when I was married because my spouse would pick me up and take me back when it was ready. Or, since the tire shop was so close to the house we had lived in for 15 years, I’d just make the 8-minute walk back home. Since I’m now single, I planned things around the Mav’s playoff game on Saturday afternoon. A friend picked me up from the tire store, we watched the game, and then he took me back after the game ended. I hate waiting, so I like these little victories in making the most use of my time.
  • I read this quote in an article recently, and I condone it.
    • I think there is pressure on people to turn every negative into a positive, but we should be allowed to say, ‘I went through something really strange and awful and it has altered me forever.'” – Marian Keyes
  • I saw this tweet last night. It caught my attention.
  • The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-Day Saints has eight large building projects in Texas. One proposed one is a temple in McKinney with a 16-story spire that has local residents up in a roar. I thought it was funny that the article mentioned it would be as tall as the water tower. The Mormons invited the community for a discussion, but many felt controlled.
    • “It’s just a good-faith effort to be able to share details about our project, listen to their concerns, and have them ask questions,” said Church spokeswoman Melissa McKneely. But, some of the residents who spoke with WFAA did not get a warm feeling from the open house meeting.They tell WFAA they were ushered into a gym and their movements and speech throughout the facility were ‘controlled’ by organizers. Community members wore green shirts that read “Fairview United” and the words “Keeping it Country and not an inch more.”
  • It’s worth waiting to see where these tires end up at the end of the video.

  • I would never expect two elderly women using a hammer and metal pick to break the glass containing a copy of the Magna Carter and try to put oil on it, but welcome to 2024.

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Bag of Randomness for Friday, May 10, 2024

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Bag of Randomness for Thursday, May 9, 2024

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Bag of Randomness for Wednesday, May 8, 2024

  • If you love Dallas sports teams, it’s a great time to be alive. Maybe one day we’ll land a real NFL franchise.
  • I’ve been a proud member of USAA for a long time, but I liked them more when they were smaller and didn’t advertise. They are trying something new, and I have my doubts. What if the pollen is high for the day, and my voice sounds different? But I’m sure they already thought of that.
    • Imagine a world with fewer passwords and verification codes, where your voice becomes the key to effortless access. With Voice ID, your voice is seamlessly analyzed and verified when you call USAA, reducing the verification questions you must answer to access your account. Voice ID uses advanced algorithms to analyze your unique vocal patterns, making it secure and convenient.
  • It has been interesting to watch how Trump has transformed the Republican party. In February, longtime RNC chair Ronna McDaniel was replaced by Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump. Adhering to the adage “sex sells,” the RNC has hired a 28-year-old former bikini model as one of its newest spokespeople. Elizabeth Pipko has posed for the pages of Sports Illustrated, Maxim, and Esquire. To be fair, she’s earned degrees from Harvard University Extension School (ALB) and the University of Pennsylvania (MS) and isn’t new to the profession of media and politics.
  • Religion News Service oped – How Trumpism has pushed a fringe charismatic theology into the mainstreamCharismatic Christian prophets have gained new influence since becoming identified with the former president.
  • Noelia Voigt resigns as Miss USA, citing her mental health
    • “Deep down I know that this is just the beginning of a new chapter for me, and my hope is that I continue to inspire others to remain steadfast, prioritize your mental health, advocate for yourself and others by using your voice, and never be afraid of what the future holds, even if it feels uncertain,” she wrote on Instagram.
    • Good for her. Again, I’m reminded of my buddy Tony. Last week he was in a court hearing having to testify about his mental health as his ex-spouse is using it as a reason to alienate their children from him. The opposing attorney was trying to use his consistent weekly sessions with his counselor and monthly appointments with his psychiatrist over the last two years as proof he was mentally unstable. Days later, he’s kicking himself for not turning that around when he was on the stand to emphasize he was making his mental health a priority, and she was doing nothing but contributing to the stigma that receiving professional mental health services is something negative. I told the guy we all look back and wish we added something else to a conversation, but the judge basically ruled in his favor and to focus on that and walk forward.
  • In rural Texas, ERs are facing a growing mental health crisis
  • I’ve been following a TwitterX user who created a bracket of Contemporary Christian Music artists from four different eras. The last two artists were Rich Mullins and NF. I had never heard of NF, but I thought it must be shorthand for a band or person’s name. As I followed the tournament, I tried to guess what the NF stood for, and I finally looked it up yesterday. It turns out that’s the artist’s full stage name, NF. He’s a rapper who prefers to go by his initials, but his real name is Nathan Feuerstein.
  • Houston takes crown as city with highest grocery price inflation in the US
    • The USDA found that Houston had the highest rate of inflation, with grocery prices rising by a whopping 7.8 percent in 2023. Second to Houston was Boston, Mass., coming in at 7 percent. As for other Texas cities, only one other metropolis was featured in the price study. The Dallas Fort-Worth area recorded increases of 5.0 percent, just 2.8 percent less than Houston. In contrast, Anchorage, Alaska, a city known for their expensive cost-of-living prices, actually saw prices drop in 2023.
  • Sam’s Club officially rolls out AI receipt checking at Texas stores
    • Sam’s Club has receipt checkers posted at each exit to verify the receipts and items that each shopper bought before they exit the store in order to prevent theft. Now, most customers are able to just leave the store with a new AI scanner that checks their carts and ensures the items have been paid for as they leave.
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