April 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 April:

Questions I Asked –

Where did April Fools Day come from? – This Wonder Why Wednesday happened on a Friday. Try to wrap your brain around that.

Who invented Yoga? – Fun fact: When you type “who invented yog” into a Google search, the top search is “who invented yoga pants.”

Who Invented The Pancake? – Whoever it is, I want to shake their hand and say thank you.

Can A Dog Catch A Cold From You? – No, but cats on the other hand…

Who Invented Clapping? – Spoiler alert: it was not Eric Clapton

Things We Learned –

What Children Think About When Writing A Book – They aren’t wondering about the things you may think.

What Children Don’t Think About When Writing A Book – Kids aren’t too worried about the whole “writing process.” They just want write. This is what they care about.

About the greatest invention ever… The PancakeBot

What my neighbor was really doing when it looked like she was sweeping dirt onto more dirt.

How To Get Over Self-Doubt – The key is to realize that everyone is capable of learning (we’ve been doing it our whole lives, after all).

Who is the world’s fastest clapper – Spoiler alert: it is not Eric Clapton

Fun With Numbers –

10 More Strange But True Facts – Did you know Albert Einstein’s eyeballs are stored in a safe deposit box in New York City? Do I hear plot for National Treasure 4???

6 times we fast forward – & 6 things we can do to fast forward less.

5 good things – Feel like there is nothing but negative stories online, on TV and in the newspaper? Here’s a little pick me up.

7 Things Extremely Happy People Do Every Single Day – Here’s the latest edition of I Wish I Wrote It

World’s Fastest Clapper

As I researched material for today’s Wonder Why Wednesday, I stumbled across an interesting stat. Did you know the Guinness World Record for most claps in one minute is 1020?

If you are like me, the thought that such a record even existed never crossed your mind. But it is true. On May 5,2014, a man from Boston named Eli Bishop set the record.

I am proud to know that an American holds the record. USA! USA! USA!

Here’s a video of that record setting performance:

Who Invented Clapping?

When I think you have done something well, I will do one of two things:

  1. Tell you how well you did
  2. Smash the palms of my hands together over and over in rapid succession.


At first glance, #2 seems a little odd. How did we decide that clapping, aka, creating noise by hitting our hands together, is a symbol for approval? Let’s find out in today’s Wonder Why Wednesday…

Who Invented Clapping?

Turns out, Bob Barker and The Price is Right invented clapping. Okay, so not really. Applause, called “a remarkably stable facet of human culture” actually predates the showcase showdown by thousands of years.

The Bible even makes reference to clapping in 2 Kings 11:12 — “Then he brought the king’s son out and put the crown on him and gave him the testimony; and they made him king and anointed him, and they clapped their hands and said, ‘Long live the king!'”

It is difficult to trace clapping back to one person or one specific date, but the general thought is that it was popularized in Ancient Roman theaters. Before the invention of the electronic applause sign, a play would end with the chief actor would yelling, “Valete et plaudite!” (“Goodbye and applause!”). This was a way to let the audience know that it was time to give praise and then get out.

The Roman Empire also used applause to get a sense of the popularity of their leaders. An article in The Atlantic states, “One of the chief methods politicians used to evaluate their standing with the people was by gauging the greetings they got when they entered the arena…Leaders became astute human applause-o-meters, reading the volume — and the speed, and the rhythm, and the length — of the crowd’s claps for clues about their political fortunes.”

Crazy to think of a world before Gallup polls and thumbs up emoji.

7 Things Extremely Happy People Do Every Single Day

Many times, I will read something online and immediately think, “that was great, I wish I wrote it.” I may not have written it, but I can still share it.

Here’s the latest…

7 Things Extremely Happy People Do Every Single Day by Peter Economy

If you are happy and you know it, clap your hands. If you are not happy, well then, I have the article for you.

In a story for Inc., Peter Economy writes that, “The secret to true and lasting happiness might be much closer than we think.” When we are unhappy, we think of happy people and figure they must be living in another universe. But Economy points out that is not the case. He highlights seven things that we should start incorporating into our daily routine.

  1. Choose to exercise
  2. Choose to take care of your body
  3. Choose to be polite


Click here to read the rest of the list.

How To Get Over Self-Doubt

When we are young, we accept the fact that we need to learn stuff. We don’t know what an adjective is, so we learn. We don’t know who killed Abraham Lincoln, so we learn. We don’t know what trigonometry is…okay so maybe we never quite figure that one out.

My point is, throughout a good chunk of our lives, we don’t question our ability to learn. We need to know something, so we cram, hit the books and pull an all-nighter.

But at some point we start to doubt our ability to learn something new. We may not recognize it as such, but it happens. Maybe we think we already know everything or maybe (and more likely), we are too timid to admit that after all these years, we still need to learn stuff.

That’s the darn thing about learning, our need for it never stops.

A big part of doing something new is starting from square one. We rarely jump into a new hobby or profession without beginning at, well, the beginning. Not having all the answers can cause self-doubt.

How do we get over this self-doubt?

Billionaire co-founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman has a suggestion. He says we need to gain confidence in ourselves as a learner. Hoffman says we need to realize that everyone is capable of learning (we’ve been doing it our whole lives, after all). And once we have the confidence in ability to learn, we should just always be learning.

There is nothing wrong with spotting self-doubt at square one. If it was your first day working for the circus, you wouldn’t expect to be able to teach a tiger how to juggle (do they have that at the circus? It has been awhile since I have gone). No, you would probably start by sweeping up elephant poop while you worked on your skills as a feline juggling coach. Where self-doubt becomes crippling is when we think we will never have what it takes to teach the tiger to juggle.

If we are doing something we believe in, Hoffman says we need to tell ourselves, I am genuinely committed to do it and I am going to learn as I am doing it.

That wasn’t a problem when we were young, and with a little confidence in our ability to learn, it shouldn’t be a problem now.

Sweeping The Dirt

The other day I went for a jog around my neighborhood. As I approached a house on the corner of the street, I spotted something odd. A little old lady was in her pajamas sweeping the dirt in her front yard.

I know what you are thinking and yes, I worded that correctly. She wasn’t sweeping dirt off of her patio. She was sweeping dirt off of her dirt. She had a broom and was sweeping dirt from one end of her yard to the other. Her being in her pajamas in the middle of the day was the least odd thing about the whole scenario.

Seeing this, my first thought was, “why is she sweeping her dirt?” My second thought was, “should I be sweeping my dirt? I have plenty of dirt and I don’t know if it has ever been swept.”

Her entire front yard, while not very big, was exclusively dirt, so I imagined that she was going to be there awhile. Confused, I picked up the pace a little and continued my jog.

On my loop back home, I jogged by the same house and the little old lady was still out front tending to her dirt. Only now, the broom had been replaced by a hose. She had stopped sweeping the dirt and had started watering it.

The dirt, nicely swept and watered, started to make some sense. I am no horticulturalists, but I bet she was planting something.

Or maybe she is just crazy. Who really knows? I guess I will have to jog by that house again in a few months and see how it looks.

The point is, she was working on something and she was working hard. I couldn’t quite understand what she was doing or why, but that didn’t matter to her. She kept right on going and had a goal in mind. And with a little progress, the picture started to become a little clearer.

To others, our dreams may not make sense in the beginning. When they only see snippets of our work, it may seem like we are sweeping dirt off of dirt. Not everyone one is going to understand what we are doing or why we are doing it. Or why we are in our pajamas.

But with enough hard work, our efforts will start to make sense to those around us. Don’t believe me? I know a little old lady who I would like to introduce you too.

Can A Dog Catch A Cold From You?

Recently, I was asked to dog sit for a family friend. At the time, I was suffering from a cold and had been coughing and sneezing all week. I wasn’t sure if I would be completely healthy before it was time to visit the dogs (side note, “visit the dogs” sounds like the step just before you “kick the bucket”).

That got me wondering…

Can A Dog Catch A Cold From You?

Dogs can in fact catch a cold. However, they can’t not catch it from you (unless you are another dog reading this). According to Scott Weese, the Canada research chair in zoonotic diseases and an associate professor at the Ontario Veterinary College, “There’s no concern with dog-to-human, or human-to-dog, transmission.” Dogs only get the flu or a cold from other dogs.

Cats, on the other hand, are a different story. A cat can catch a cold or flu from a human.The virus attaches to cells in the respiratory tract of felines similarly to how it does in humans,” says Weese. There have been reports of H1N1 found in cats in the United States. Like dogs, cats transmit viruses among one another. But don’t worry crazy cat ladies, humans can’t catch those.

Fun fact: the information I used in this post was originally published in a 2011 article of Best Health, titled “Cat-choo!” Great title!

5 Good Things

Having a rough start to the week? Feel like there is nothing but negative stories online, on TV and in the newspaper? Looking for a little pick me up?

Here are 5 good things going on in our world…

  1. Good Samaritans do exist – A woman found a pediatric wheelchair in the middle of a Jersey City street Saturday night and is taking time to reunite it with its owner. The owner has yet to be found, but in our busy world, it is nice to know that there are still people out there who pause what they are doing to help someone they can’t even see.
  2. We don’t have to be a superhero to come to the rescue – An 11-year-old boy with autism, walked out of class on Friday and hopped a BART train to San Francisco. Thanks to one woman’s instincts, the boy was safely reunited with his family.
  3. We can watch videos and make a difference at the same time – My favorite politician, Kid President, is back on the campaign trail to help end child hunger with ConAgra. For every view or share of his new video, between April 14 through May 9, 2016, ConAgra will donate the monetary equivalent of one meal to Feeding America®, up to 100,000 meals.
  4. Devils can act like angels – The Arizona State University football team took time out of their last spring practice to welcome a five-year-old who is battling stage three lymphoma. The boy was all smiles as he got to keep head coach Todd Graham’s whistle and got to try on ASU’s football helmet and gloves.
  5. Even champions are too big for their smallest fans – Villianova stars Daniel Ochefu and Ryan Arcidiacono have been busy doing the media rounds since being crowned NCAA men’s basketball champions. But they aren’t too busy to share some cake with a struggling young fan. The players surprised a 4-year-old who is fighting bone cancer, giving him a handful of gifts and a Wildcats-themed cake. Check out the video below.

We Fast Forward When

When we are watching a TV show or movie, we fast forward when…

  1. It is boring
  2. We are behind
  3. We’ve seen it a hundred times
  4. We want to get to the good part
  5. It is not the reason we watch, aka a commercial
  6. We don’t want to be seen watching it with our mother — it is scary, or something we are ashamed to look at


If we were watching a TV show or a movie about our lives, how much fast forwarding would we do? Want to do less fast forwarding…


  1. Don’t be boring
  2. Stay ahead
  3. Try something new
  4. Spend more time doing good
  5. Remember the reason you’re here, aka your purpose
  6. Don’t do things you couldn’t re-watch with your mother