Another Sneak Peek

Here’s a sneak peak of the back cover of the new book, titled Maury C. Moose and The Basketball ChamPUNship…

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Five Fun Facts About Lip Balm

Yesterday, I wrote about 5 things we can learn from chapstick. As I researched that post, I learned some interesting things about lip balm. Here are a few things I learned:

  1. In the 1800s, a woman named Lydia Maria Child recommended earwax as a treatment for cracked lips in her highly-popular book, The American Frugal Housewife. This book is still available on Amazon today and is described as “a ‘must’ for every bride of the mid-1800s.”
  2. Lip balm was first marketed in the 1880s by a pharmacist and inventor named Charles Browne Fleet. Also the inventor of laxative and enemas, this guy’s interests were apparently very different from the cartoon character who shares a similar name.
  3. In 1912, the rights to Chapstick were sold to a guy named John Morton for five dollars.
  4. In the early 1950s, a commercial artist named Frank Wright Jr. was paid a whopping $15 to create the Chapstick logo, which is still used today.
  5. One of the main ingredients is something called Carnauba wax. This is also called Brazil wax, which I was afraid to Google, but I am hoping is very different from a Brazilian wax.

5 Things We Can Learn From Chapstick

The great thing about learning is that it is not confined to certain times or locations. Learning can happen anytime, anywhere.

I like to highlight this fact by, once a month, looking at things we encounter on a daily basis and seeing what important lesson we can from them.

In today’s installment of “Five Things We Can Learn From Everyday Objects” we are going to talk about something that I use everyday…

5 Things We Can Learn From Chapstick

1. Habits Are Powerful

Every time I leave my house I check for four things — my keys, cell phone wallet and chapstick. I will not go on my way until I pat down my pockets and confirm I have all four. I can’t remember when this started, but it became a habit of mine and now I do it without thinking. It is so burned into my brain that I would probably forget to wear underwear before I forgot chapstick.

2. It Is Easy To Overlook All The Details

I need to amend the above statement. I don’t leave the house without my keys, cell phone, wallet and lip balm. I rarely have the actual brand Chapstick, but that doesn’t stop me from referring to my lip balm as such. This is what is called a generic trademark. This is when a brand name takes over a generic name due to popularity. Just like how a Band-Aid is actually an adhesive bandage. I bet you may not even know you do this for many brands. Want to find out? Here’s a fun list of generic trademarks.

3. A Little Goes A Long Way

I used to have a chapstick (or lip balm) problem. I figured that if a little was good, a lot was better so I would cake the stuff on. My lips were so greasy, that it looked like I had just been smooching a stick of butter. After awhile I learned that with so much chapstick on, butter was the only think I would have a change of kissing, so I dialed it way back.

4. People Want Variety

There are hundreds of versions of lip balm. You can choose based on brands, packaging, flavors, strengths and price. There are very few things where one size fits all.

5. Can Find Ways To Turn Anything Into Anything

When doing research for this post I learned that chapstick played a role in the Watergate scandal. Apparently the chapstick contained hidden microphones used by E. Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy, the leaders of the Watergate break-in team. Here’s a picture of them.

3 Ways to Avoid Decision Quicksand

I am the Peyton Manning of making decisions. Not because I am a record setting, future Hall of Famer, but because of how long it takes to get things in motion. Like Manning switching plays at the line of scrimmage, just barely beating the play-clock, I constantly change my mind and take way too much time to make even the smallest of choices.

What should I order from the menu? What clothes should I wear in the morning? You’d think those choices would be easy given that I only like about 5 different foods and I only own about 5 different shirts, but somehow those tiny decisions can take forever.

In today’s edition of I Wish I Wrote It, author Jonah Berger takes a look at why these trivial decisions can take so much time. Berger calls this phenomenon “Decision Quicksand” and explains just how common it really is.

Luckily for us, Berger outlines 3 ways that we can avoid this pitfall. Check it out here.

3 Ways to Avoid Decision Quicksand

A Tale of Training, Discipline and Nipple Tape

As I wrote yesterday, I will probably never run a marathon.

But I’ve always wished that I could say that I have. Unfortunately, there are two things holding me back…a bad knee and a lack of motivation. The second one is a bigger restraint than the first.

Even though I may never run a marathon, that doesn’t mean I don’t know how. It is pretty simple actually. All you have to do is run.

I don’t mean to say that running a marathon is simple, it is not. It takes a great deal of training, discipline and nipple tape.

I just mean that the strategy of how to run a marathon is something we all can comprehend.

Can the same be said about overcoming fear?

Think about it.

I know I may give in to fear from time to time, but deep down I also know how to overcome it. It is pretty simple actually.

It takes training, discipline and nipple tape. Okay, maybe not that last one.

In his new book, What to do When it’s Your Turn (and its always your turn), Seth Godin compares running to failing.

“Consider our avoidance of feeling tired,” Godin writes.

If you’re unwilling to be tired, unwilling to feel fatigue in your legs, you can’t run a marathon. Successful marathon runners haven’t figured out how to avoid being tired, they’ve figured out where to put the tired when it arrives. If you’re not willing to be tired, you can’t run.”

He goes on to say, “If you’re not willing to imagine failure, you’re unable to be free.”

If we want to do great things, we won’t be able to avoid fear, in much the same way be won’t be able to avoid getting out of breath if we run 26 miles. But that is okay. No one is asking us to figure out a magic potion to avoid fear.

We just need to figure out where to put it when it arrives.

How Was The Length Of A Marathon Determined?

I will probably never run a marathon, but I can definitely appreciate how difficult a marathon must be. I have a hard enough time running 6.2 miles, that I can imagine how long 26.2 miles must feel like.

I’ve always wondered how they came up with that length, 26.2 miles. Why not 26 or 27? And what is that distance in kilometers? Let’s find out in today’s edition of Wonder Why Wednesday…

How Was The Length Of A Marathon Determined?

Before I started researching this topic, I figured that a marathon was such an odd number of miles because it was a whole number of kilometers.

I was wrong. A marathon is 42.195 kilometers. So if it isn’t a whole number of miles or kilometers, where did the distance come from?

First some history…

The name “marathon” comes from the legend of Pheidippides, a Greek messenger, who ran from the city of Marathon to Athens to deliver the message that the Greeks had defeated the Persians in the 490 BC Battle of Marathon.

The most common route and the one Pheidippides would have used on his journey, is roughly 26 miles.

The marathon has been an Olympic event since the birth of the Modern Olympics in 1896. However, from the first Modern Olympics through 1920, a span of seven Olympics, a total of six different distances were used in the marathon.

  • 24.85 miles in 1896 and 1904
  • 25.02 miles in 1900
  • 26.01 miles in 1906
  • 26.22 miles in 1908
  • 24.98 miles in 1912
  • 26.56 miles in 1920

In 1921, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) figured it was time to determine an official distance for the marathon. They chose the 1908 Olympic distance of 26.22 miles (or 26 miles and 385 yards) which has been the official distance for the marathon ever since.

The course for the 1908 Olympic marathon was set to begin at the Windsor Castle and end with a lap inside White City Stadium. In order to have the race finish in front of the Queen of England and her Royal Box, the final lap was shortened to a partial lap. The distance from Windsor Castle to White City Stadium was 26 miles and the shortened lap was 385 yards. Thus the official length of the marathon was set.

Why did they pick the 1908 distance, you ask?

Because the 1908 Olympic marathon was one of the most famous marathons ever. Italian Dorando Pietri led as he entered the Olympic Stadium. He was well ahead of the competition but because the temperature was so hot, he was dehydrated and could barely walk. In fact, he was woozy that he fell numerous times on the final lap and even started running the wrong direction. As the other runners entered the stadium, Pietri was so close, but it was clear he could not finish on his own. Olympic officials decided to help him across the finish line.

Johnny Hayes from the United Stated finished second. The US protested the assisted finish and Pietri was disqualified. Hayes was awarded the Gold Medalist.

So there you have it. A controversial finish, an altered route and the Queen of England all helped determined the length of the marathon. And that length is still going strong 100+ years later.

Here are some fun marathon facts:

  • Fastest time by a female – 2:15:25 by Paula Radcliffe of Kenya on September 29, 2013
  • Fastest time by a male – 2:02:57 by Dennis Kimetto of Kenya on September 28, 2014
  • On September 28, 2014, not only did Dennis Kimetto break the record, but Emmanuel Mutai, also of Kenya, also broke the old record of 2:03:23, with his finish of 2:03:13. He broke the record but had to settle for 2nd place.
  • Oldest finisher – Fauja Singh was 100 years old when he finished in 2011. But he could not produce an official birth certificate from India, so his record is not accepted by the official governing body.
  • Youngest finisher – Budhia Singh from India finished at just 3 years. His coach was later arrested for exploiting and being cruel to the child. Shocker.
  • There are approximately 500 marathons organized worldwide with roughly 550,000 finishers every year.

 

 

Sources: LA Times & Wikipedia

This Is What Inspired Today’s Post About The Narrows

Every now and then I will get the following question:

Where do you come up with ideas for your blog posts?”

Sometimes it is said with appreciation — like how did you come up with that gem. Other times it is said with abomination — like what part of your brain is missing that made you come up with that dud.

In order to let the readers into the parts of my brain that are missing, I came up with an idea that will show how I came up with the idea for certain posts.

On certain days I will post two items. One will be the regular article, story or recap. The second will be an explanation about how the first post came about. I will try to break down where the idea originated, why I wanted to write about it and how it all came together.

Here’s what prompted me to create today’s post You Miss So Much If You Stop After The Beginning:

A couple of months ago, my girlfriend and I took at trip to The Narrows for her birthday. I knew little about the hike prior to going but it looked really cool. I researched it and found a couple things. It would probably be crowded and it would probably be hard.

I wasn’t worried though. My macho brain figured that I had to be far more qualified than most of the millions of people that did the hike each year. We weren’t going to need no stinking walking sticks or special equipment.

We got to the hike and it was packed. Right away, we noticed that most people were sticking around the beginning. We weren’t really sure why, so we took a few pictures and kept going.

It was about 5 minutes into the hike that I started getting cold. Then I got the first rock in my shoe. Then I got another one. Then I slipped.

Before I knew it, I thought that maybe those people staying at the beginning had the right idea.

But I knew this meant a lot to my girlfriend, so I kept going and tried to keep my complaining to a minimum. After a few hours, I was sore, bleeding (just a tiny cut, don’t worry mom), hungry and had to go to the bathroom. All I wanted was a hot shower and maybe some pancakes.

When we finally made it to Wall Street, I realized two things: first, it was worth the hard work. Seeing how happy my girlfriend was made all the pain worth it.

And second, there was hardly anyone around. It felt like we had the entire place to ourselves. Gone were the crowds.

It made think about the journey we take in other aspects of our lives. If you have ever started any kind of project you know what I am talking about.

You hear that the end is great, but somewhere along the way, you just want to quit and eat pancakes. The hope is that we will find a reason to keep going so we can get to the point where we will look around, see we are by ourselves and realize that it was all worth it.

So, that is how I came up with today’s post.

You Miss So Much If You Stop After The Beginning

If you Google The Narrows at Zion National Park you will find the following descriptions:

One of the world’s best slot canyon hikes!”

 

One of the best hikes you’ll ever go on!”

 

One of America’s coolest and most inspiring hikes.”

National Geographic’s Adventure Magazine rated this hike as number five in its list of America’s best 100 adventures.

It has become so popular thanks to its tall majestic canyon walls. The 2,000-foot tall orange-red sandstone structures can be as close as 20 feet across giving you the sense that you could spread your arms out wide and touch both sides.

It feels like you are in a cave that Bob Ross would have painted.

Sounds lovely, right? But if you want to make see the Bob Ross-like beauty, it is going to take some work. Millions of people come to The Narrows each year, but far less see the parts that National Geographic raves about.

The hike begins on a paved path at the top of a valley. The path ends at the base of the Virgin River. That point of the hike is packed. Kids are splashing in the water. Couples are taking selfies. Everyone and their grandma gets to this spot.

If you choose to progress from there, you’ll notice something.

The crowd starts to thin out real quick.

That’s because the only way to keep going into The Narrows is through the river. You may not have to be Michael Phelps, but be prepared to slosh through some freezing cold water. You will slip, slide and swim your way up the river for a couple miles if you want to make it to “Wall Street.”

This has been described as “the holy grail for hikers.” This is the Bob Ross part. All the pictures you see online were taken here.

And guess what?

There are far less people here.

Most of the tourists have turned around and gone home. It was far too much effort to battle the river and after they got a few rocks in their shoes they decided that they had gotten their fill of The Narrows back at the beginning.

And there is nothing wrong with that. Not everyone is able to get to Wall Street. To most, the thought of getting waist deep in water is not appealing.

At the risk of sounding like a bad motivational poster, the scene at The Narrows is a lot like what we will experience as we chase our dreams.

We begin with big things in mind. We want to write a best seller or create a masterpiece. We dream about doing something that would be described as the top 5 ___ (enter your dream here) by ___ (enter your equivalent of National Geographic Magazine).

It all sounds great at the start. Thus, it is really crowded. Authors are splashing around, podcasters are taking selfies. Everyone and their grandma can make it to this point of their dream.

But then you have to enter the river.

There are currents of rejections. Freezing cold doubts. You will be forced to slosh, slip and slide far more than you would like. And no one will fault you for turning back. You gave it a good effort, but maybe you’ve had enough. We won’t blame you if you don’t want to any more rocks in your shoes.

No hard feelings.

But if you want to see the good stuff, be prepared to get waist deep in hard work. To get to the Bob Ross-level conclusion you’ll need to keep going when the rest turn back.

If you stay with it, you can make it to the holy grail of ___ (your industry). And you’ll notice a few things:

It is beautiful. And there are far less people.

The easiest way to see the awesomeness of The Narrows is through Google Images. If you want to see it in person, it takes work.

Same can be said for chasing your dreams.

(Actually that last thought isn’t entirely accurate. You probably can’t see your dreams through Google Images. It just sounded like a good way to end this post.)

New Maury C. Moose Book

A brand new Maury C. Moose book is coming soon! Titled Maury C. Moose and The Basketball ChamPUNship, the fourth story in my children’s book series follows Maury and friends in a basketball tournament. When all looks hopeless and their chances at a championship seem lost, they receive help from an unlikely new friend.

The book is filled with dozens of basketball puns and memorable lessons for basketball players of any age.

Here’s a sneak peek of the book’s cover.

August Recap

In case you missed a post or two this month, here’s a quick recap of what I wrote about during the month of August:

Questions I Asked –

Who Invented The Chair? – It is something I have never thought about before, but it may just be the most important question ever asked during a Wonder Why Wednesday post.

Where is Sesame Street Located? – Now I can tell you how to get to Sesame Street.

Why Do We Call Them the ‘Dog Days’ of Summer? – Hint: the term “dog days of summer” has nothing to do with dogs lying around in the heat.

How Big Is A Rainbow? – If you are anything like me, your mind will start to wander after you read ice cream cone in the post.

Why Is There Traffic? – Americans spend 38 hours a year stuck in traffic. Find out why.

Things We Learned –

The One Time To Procrastinate – If there is one thing we need to learn to procrastinate about, it is tomorrow’s problems.

What Happens When We Look For Roadblocks – When we are driving, it is important to look for roadblocks. Not spotting them can take a chunk out of your bumper and your wallet. In other aspects of our life though, looking for roadblocks may actually be harmful.

What Inspired The Post About Roadblocks – In order to let the readers into the parts of my brain that are missing, I came up with an idea that will show how I came up with the idea for certain posts.

What Once In A Lifetime Looks Like – Just don’t stare directly at it.

What Johnny Cash Can Teach Us About Worrying – From his very expensive to do list.

Fun With Numbers –

Top 10 Lines From The Elements of Style –  My brother is not a fan of #1.

5 Science-Backed Ways to Have a Healthier Weekend – Fun fact: Research shows that people log the least amount of exercise Friday through Sunday, while bacon, beer and French fry consumption spike.