Something to Think About

"I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love."
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Friday, May 25, 2012

Ripped from the Headlines XV

I'm going to start off this week with some good news!  Well... it's good news for a coffee-aficionado like me. A new study seems to indicate that coffee drinkers may live longer than non-coffee drinkers! Yes. I know what you are thinking: There have been many different studies over the years that indicate that coffee isn't good for you and later studies showing that those studies may be incorrect.  You are absolutely right.  I did, however, feel compelled to mention this particular study as coffee has gotten such a bad rap over the years.  As with any scientific study, the results will be examined and others will try to disprove them - because this is how science works.  I'll be curious to see if this study holds up through this process but we'll have to wait and see.

I was saddened to hear that Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees has died after a long struggle with cancer.  I can't say that I was surprised to hear this as he has not looked well at all in recent months but I was hoping he'd be able to overcome his disease. It was not to be.  I know I said last week that Donna Summer provided the soundtrack to my middle school years but the Bee Gees contributed enormously to it as well.  I do hope that this sort of mention will not become a regular feature of my blog every week.  I'm not sure that I could get used to that.

In other news, the shoe company, Skechers, has lost a lawsuit and will have to reimburse people who purchased some of their shoes.  It seems that they made certain claims that some of their sneakers would help the wearer to get in shape but there is no proof that these claims have any basis in truth.  If you purchased any Skechers over the years, you might want to check into this. Once again a company has learned that you cannot make claims that cannot be backed up with evidence.  In light of this sort of settlement, I do have to wonder how holistic medicine companies manage to stay in business when their "medications" have no effect on a person's health at all.

In rather silly news, I came across this article about an epic battle in a Seattle park in the middle of the night! It seems that a couple people were swinging pooper-scoopers at each other in a fight that lasted around 20-30 minutes. There were no reports of any injuries so I don't feel bad at all about chuckling over this particular incident. I'm just glad I wasn't the officer who responded to it as I'm sure I would have felt compelled to giggle.

I'm sure almost everyone has heard by now that Facebook stock does not appear to be doing well.  Worse, some people are actually suing Facebook over allegedly misleading some of their investors. Sounds like not buying Facebook stock was the best choice in this case - not that I seriously considered doing so.

And finally, today is Towel Day - the day we set aside time to appreciate the work of the late Douglas Adams.  He is most famous for writing the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.  Do you know where your towel is?  (Mine is going along to work with me today.  Yes.  I really am that strange, I'm afraid.)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Ripped from the Headlines XIV

Quick question:  What is your favorite dinosaur?  Mine?  It's always been the triceratops! (I've no idea why...) That may be why this science story caught my eye this week.  Scientists are speculating that the triceratops may not be a different species at all but might actually be a younger version of the torosaurus!  (I'm not a huge dinosaur fan so I had to look that one up.) I have to say that I certainly can see a resemblance.  I guess we'll have to wait while the scientists continue to collect data, debate this subject and come to a conclusion.  First Pluto and now this...

Moving on, I was alarmed and quite skeptical when I first heard that Kodak had a nuclear reactor in the basement of one of their buildings in Rochester, New York for years! Worse, it seems they didn't feel compelled to notify local authorities that it existed.  There is no need for concern now as it was dismantled in 2006 but one has to wonder how a company managed to obtain that radioactive material without all the proper authorities being notified!  Another article explains a bit more about why they had the reactor and what it was used for but I'm still struck with the possibilities of what could have happened if something had gone wrong!  This also makes me wonder if there are other small reactors in other places that we are unaware of!

Well, it is finally going to happen.  After months of waiting, Facebook is finally going public today.  It appears that shares will cost you $38 each so it isn't going to go cheap - at least not at first.  I have to admit that I'm skeptical about whether the company is worth $104 billion but I guess if the public will buy the shares, then that settles that issue.  You won't find me putting my money in Facebook stock, however.  I'm not convinced that it is worth the price and I'm really not much of a gambler in the first place.

I was saddened to hear of the death of singer Donna Summer of lung cancer yesterday.  She really was the queen of disco music!  You could hardly turn the channel on the radio without hearing one of her hits in the mid 70s. She definitely provided the soundtrack for much of my middle school years. I'm sure that her music will be played quite a bit over the next several days and I'm looking forward to that.

In political news, it appears that George W Bush has endorsed Mitt Romney...  as the elevator doors closed...  while he was chatting with a reporter.  This prompted many in the news media to call it the least enthusiastic endorsement they've seen and I have to agree that this is up there on that list!  Our former president has been staying out of the spotlight since leaving office so I guess he didn't intend any sort of public announcement like the one his parents gave Romney.  Still, it seems a bit odd that he didn't bother with a small press conference or something of the sort.

Finally, frequent visitors might notice that my newspaper image for my "Ripped from the Headlines" posts has changed this week.  Last week when I placed my link for my post on Google+ one of my readers commented on the headline on that paper and it reminded me that I had always wanted to find a better image that was more neutral.  I found a piece of clip-art that I am free to use and alter to my needs and so I now have a new image for my news posts!  I'm sure I'm more excited by this than you are but sometimes it's the little things that make us happiest.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Ripped from the Headlines XIII

I've a lot to talk about this week so let's get right to it!

First off, I am still giddy after the news I heard late Wednesday that President Obama has stated that he supports same-sex marriage!  Now there are some who see this as some sort of political grandstanding but I really can't totally see it that way.  It seems to me that pro-LGBT folks already would vote for Obama over Romney so, if anything, this move might cost him votes.  Regardless of any outcome of this statement, I still have to say that it would have been safer to wait until after the election to say this so I think our President is really brave to speak up now - even if some say he had no choice after VP Biden made similar statements.  Kudos to the commander-in-chief!

USA Today reported earlier this week that the national Christmas tree that was planted on the White House lawn has died.  It replaced the previous tree which was destroyed by high winds in February of last year making it the second of such trees to die since Obama took office.  A friend of mine has quipped that he wonders how long before certain media outlets start making statements about President Obama declaring a war on Christmas.............. trees. (ba-DUM-dum)

In more serious news, I was saddened to hear of the death of the author Maurice Sendak who many will recognize as the author of Where the Wild Things Are and many other children's books.  Of course I remember that particular book and several others he wrote but for some reason - and I've no idea why - I always preferred Chicken Soup With Rice. (I'm really not a huge fan of actual chicken soup and especially not the kind with rice but I guess that is irrelevant.) I think I'll order some of his books for my granddaughter so she can enjoy them as well.  What are some of your favorite Maurice Sendak books?

On the political scene, it is now old news that Newt Gingrich has dropped out of the GOP race so it appears that - most likely - Mitt Romney will win his party's nomination for President. I say "most likely" because there are still some Ron Paul supporters out there who think that Paul has some sort of backroom delegate-collecting scheme up his sleeve or some such nonsense.  I'm not going to argue with them.  We'll just see what happens at the convention, alright?

Now Mitt Romney is not the Presidential candidate that I would prefer to win the election - as I'm sure surprises no one - but I really had to seriously wonder about this next article I came across.  It seems that some of Gov. Romney's former classmates had some stories about some pranks that he pulled as a student. Now I realize that boys will be boys but, frankly, I'm a little concerned about one of these "pranks".  It almost sounds like he was more of a bully than a prankster but I'm not exactly an unbiased individual in this case so you are free to draw your own conclusions.

This next story out of Arizona has me wondering if they live in the same century in that state.  Again.  Seriously - what the heck is going on out there?  Is the heat getting to folks or what?!?

No, it's not what you might think.  I'm not going to mention the fact that the governor has banned public funding of Planned Parenthood in the state.  Well.  I did mention it but I"m not going to elaborate.

What I'm talking about is a story about a girl who plays baseball for her high school team.  She attends a prep school called Mesa Preparatory Academy.  Her school has no girls softball team so she tried out and made the baseball team.  That team has made the state finals.  The problem?  The other team that made the finals from Our Lady of Sorrows Academy has decided to forfeit the game because they refuse to play against a team with a female player.  Seriously.  Story here.  All I'm going to say is that I find this absurd.  Baseball isn't a contact sport so I can't imagine what the problem is.  I feel sorry for all the players on both teams who worked hard and deserved to play that game.  Shame on those school officials who decided to make an issue over a player's gender.

Moving on to lighter fare, I came across this story out of the UK about a company that attempted to send a well-wishing form letter to an employee on his or her last day at work and accidentally sent it to 1,300 workers.  I'm sure the error was promptly corrected but I imagine that quite a few employees were taken aback when they received it!

And finally for all the Dr. Who fans out there, I found this small article about a company that has invented - or created, rather - an actual sonic screwdriver! I guess we can say that this is a case of life imitating art, right?  Or... borrowing ideas from art...  or television... or whatever.

Have a nice weekend, folks!

Image is in the public domain and was found here

Friday, May 4, 2012

An apology - sort of

So... I thought I should post an apology for not posting.  Then I thought that I shouldn't because I've never promised to post regularly in the first place and I should just create a post when I feel like doing so.  Then it occurred to me that it might be a while before that happens so here I am.

I'm not sure how I fell out of the habit of blogging, to be honest.  I think it might have had something to do with the anti-inflammatory drugs I was taking that seemed to make me tired and out of it - but only a little.  However, I've stopped taking them and I've still not started back up blogging.

It certainly isn't for lack of topics to write about.  I copied links to several news articles early to mid-week last week thinking that I'd do my Friday "Ripped from the Headlines" post but I just never seemed to have the time.  I really don't understand why I feel that way.  I've no less free time than I did before.

So, yes.  I am fine and still around somewhere.  I've just not been here recently and I'm not sure when I'll return.

I hope it will be soon.