July 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 July:

Questions I Asked –

How do fireworks work? – In this Wonder Why Wednesday post, I revisit a question I asked but then forgot the answer to.

When Were Contractions Invented? – I won’t spoil the answer here…get it…won’t.

Who Is The Phillips Head Screwdriver Named After? – There is a real Phillip who invented the thing. Find out who he was.


Things We Learned –

A new way for me to describe my blog – It is a phrase that comes from 16th– and 17th-century rich Europeans. If that doesn’t describe me, I don’t know what does.

What I think about the NBA off-season –  I joined the Brickhouse Podcast Blog to discuss Kevin Durant and what Tim Duncan will be doing with his free time.

Great Writing Can Even Make Abbreviations Funny – Don’t believe me? Check out what Comedian Gary Gulman has to say.

I am not great at getting out of my comfort zone – Literally. Here’s a story of when I chose comfort over something more important.

How successful people manage their time – Check out the great article by Amanda Foust from The Daily Positive.

There are side effects of trying new things – Such as chronic swelling of the brain, aka, learning.


Fun With Numbers –

5 Things We Can Learn From Fans – #5 may surprise you.

5 Good Things – Feel like there is nothing but negative stories online, on TV and in the newspaper? Here are 5 good things going on in our world.

10 More Strange But True Facts – It is illegal to push a moose out of an airplane. Seriously, that is a law in Alaska.

10 More Strange But True Facts

1. The average lifespan of a worker bee is only 3 months…or about twice the length of a relationship for the winning contestants on The Bachelorette.

2. When swallowing a big mouthful of food, a frog blinks its eyes which pushes its large eyeballs down on top of its mouth. This helps squeeze the food in its mouth into its throat. Didn’t their mother ever tell them to take smaller bites?

3. “Inflammable” and “flammable” mean the same thing. The same can be said for “insane” and “Gary Busey”.

4. Alaska has a law that states it it illegal to push a live moose out of a moving airplane. Looks like I have the plot of the next Maury C. Moose book.

5. Oklahoma’s state bird is the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. A statue in the Tulsa airport says this bird is known for catching grasshoppers, crickets and beetles. No mention of flies. Seems like they probably should have mentioned flies.

6. Walt Disney was one fired from a newspaper for “lack of imagination.” In defense of that boss, I too wouldn’t have thought much about a guy who kept going on and on about a giant mouse that doesn’t wear a shirt and hikes his pants up to his nipples.

7. Michael Jackson didn’t invent the Moonwalk. It dates back the the 1950s, many years prior to the moon landing. If that doesn’t prove that the moon landing was fake, I don’t know what does.

8. When first invented, high heels were originally worn by men, not women. The shoes were said to have been common with Persian horseback warriors sometime around the ninth century. Today, Steph Curry is the only warrior I know who gets grief about his shoes.

9. McDonald’s in Japan Is Giving Away A Golden Chicken McNugget. I think Ronald McDonald is trying a little to hard to become Willy Wonka.

10. If you Google “I’m feeling curious” you will be given the answer to a random trivia question. I have a suggestion for Google…start directing all searches for “I’m feeling furious” to images of baby foxes. Because who could stay mad when looking at this adorable little guy.


Who Is The Phillips Head Screwdriver Named After?

Every Christmas, my parents give me a tool. One year it was a hammer, another it was a wrench. I think it is their way of reminding me that I am in fact an adult.

After quite a few years now, I have acquired a nice tool box filled with many tools that I have never used. To say I am not handy is to say that sumo wrestlers are not slim. I couldn’t even tell you the function of half of the tools I own. One year I was given a level, which I mistakenly called a balance beam. Apparently I am more familiar with gymnastics equipment than I am tools.

So it should come as no surprise that I am unfamiliar with the history of screwdrivers. However, that is going to change today. At least a little. Because, for today’s Wonder Why Wednesday, I am going to find the answer to the following question:

Who Is The Phillips Head Screwdriver Named After?

In the 1930s, the X-shaped socket head screw was invented by Henry F. Phillips, a businessman from Portland, Oregon. At the time, car makers were in need of a screw that could be efficiently used on an assembly line. Slotted screws would not hold tightly enough when met with a great deal of torque.

Phillip’s invention was rejected at first, but later accepted by the American Screw Co.. In 1936 General Motors began to use the Phillips head screw in manufacturing Cadillacs. The screw quickly took off and is still used today.


Source: Infoplease

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. Elderly Stranger Pays For Man’s GroceriesA conversation about race relations in America led to one man paying for another man’s groceries. “[It was] just a random moment of solidarity and love that made my day,” said Sampson McCormick, the man whose groceries were paid for.
  2. Michigan Children’s Hospital Is Using Pokemon Go To Brighten Smiles – C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan has started using the new gaming sensation Pokemon Go in its hallways and around the campus to foster greater socialization within patients and brighten smiles all around.
  3. ‘Heroic’ Dog Saves Lost Boy’s Life In Mountain OrdealA Labrador named Max has been hailed as a hero after coming to the rescue of a teenage boy who got lost during an expedition in Mexico’s Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range.
  4. Builder Makes A Real Life ‘Where’s Waldo?’ Game For Sick Kids To Spot From Their Hospital WindowAnother example of how a fun game can lift the spirits of young hospital patients. This time the game is Where’s Waldo.
  5. Mom Made it her Mission to Go to Hospitals to Cook Healthy Food for Kids With CancerAfter her son was diagnosed with cancer, one woman created Happily Hungry, a program that consists of cooking and workshops for hospitalized kids and their families who are battling cancer and other illnesses. Learn more in the video below.

Side Effects May Include…

If you’ve ever seen a commercial for prescription drugs you are aware of the term, “side effects may include.” The commercial spends 20 seconds covering the many reasons why we should ask our doctor about their product. But the last 10 seconds feature the phrase “side effects may include” and then a laundry list of ridiculous things that might happen when starting the prescription. Many times the side effects outweigh anything that can be helped by the drug.

A similar thing happens in other aspects of our lives. In order to help, I will be offering 10 seconds of warning in a new segment called “Side Effects May Include…”.

When Trying New Things, Side Effects May Include…

– Chronic swelling of the brain, aka, learning.

– Abnormal ability to find new hobbies.

– Unusual acts of failure, only to get back up again.

– Increased risk of a start attack, aka, starting something you’ve never done before.

– Decreased appetite for a bunch of stuff you now know you don’t like to do.

– Strange tendency to make friends in the middle of nowhere.

– Uncontrollable urge to try more things.

– Unstoppable shrinking of things left to do on your bucket list.

– Increased ability to make your actual life better than your Facebook page.

– Strange tendency to finish what you started

– Plummeting of constant loneliness.

How Successful People Manage Their Time

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…

How Successful People Manage Their Time by Amanda Foust

If you mix an informative post with a cool infographic, I am hooked. Amanda Foust from The Daily Positive was able to do just that in her article about how we can better manage our time.

She looks at four themes that are common with successful time managers —

  1. Listen
  2. Finish
  3. Focus
  4. Plan.

And if that wasn’t enough, she points out five traps to avoid.

Check it out here.

Sacrificing Comfort

On Monday I wrote about fans. That post was inspired by a recent trip to church.

I didn’t realize it until I was already in the doors, but the church’s air conditioning was broken. In Arizona in the middle of the summer, being somewhere with a broken air conditioner is like being at a Pitbull concert. You are very sweaty, confused and after 5 seconds you not sure what you are still doing there.

Knowing that I wasn’t going to be able to leave and hit the next the closest church in time, I decided to stick it out and endure the heat. Luckily, they had huge fans set up all around the pews.

Being the smart guy that I am, I parked myself in the last row, directly in front of a fan. Mass started and my seat was cool and refreshing. Only one problem…I couldn’t hear a thing.

The service could have been in a different language for all I know, because I could only hear the whooshing of the fan. I tried to read lips, but I couldn’t tell if the priest said “Gospel according to John” or “Go sell your Pokemon.”

I thought about getting up and moving to the front of the church, but I could see people up there using their song sheets as fans. One guy was visibly sweating through his Sunday best.

I hate to say it, but I decided to stay where I was. I remained at my seat and spent the rest of the mass comfortable, but clueless.

As I have mentioned before, I am not great when it comes to getting out of my proverbial comfort zone. This church experience was a good lesson that I am not great at getting out of an actual comfort zone either.

When Were Contractions Invented?

Yesterday, I showed a funny video of comedian Gary Gulman making jokes about abbreviations and contractions. That got me wondering, where did contractions come from? Were they really invented by one person? Let’s find out in today’s edition of Wonder Why Wednesday…

When Were Contractions Invented?

Contractions can be traced back to sometime between 450 AD – 1150 AD. Not surprisingly, Old English from this time was very different from what we speak today. Here’s how TodayIFoundOut.com says contractions came about:

In the 5th century, several groups, notably the Angles and the Saxons, began to invade, and they brought their Germanic languages and rune alphabets with them, along with several well-established contractions. These included shortened forms for “is not” (nis, today, “isn’t”), “did not have” (ne haefde), “was not” (ne waes, today “wasn’t”) and “would not” (wolde, today “wouldn’t).

Years later, Early Middle English led to more contractions, including: I’ll (I will), ‘twould (it would) and ’twill (it will). Negative contractions also became popular, including: every form including can’t (cannot), don’t (do not), shan’t (shall not), mayn’t (may not)and won’t (will not).

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, won’t first appeared in the mid-15th century as wynnot and then wonnot. It wasn’t until the mid-17th century that the form we are used to today was recorded. In the 1630s, don’t was first found. Can’t and ain’t first appeared in print in 1706. Ain’t was originally a contraction only for “am not,” but by the early 1800s, it was also used to mean a variety of other things including “are not,” “is not,” “have not,” and “has not.”

5 Things We Can Learn From Fans

The great thing about learning is that it is not confined to certain times or a specific location. 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 comes in very handy this time of year…

5 Things We Can Learn From Fans

1. Good Can Be Better

In doing a little research for this post, I learned that ceiling fans first appeared in the 1860s, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that they were built with the ability to change speeds. For the first 100+ years of their existence, fans only knew one speed. Now, nearly every fan you find features a control that can vary the speed, similar to how a light has a dimmer.

I imagine that when fans were first invented, there was probably very little complaining about the speed of the fan — people were thrilled just to have something that make a room feel less hot. But somewhere along the line a very smart person showed up and asked, “how can I make this better?” That person looked at something good and made it better. We too might be able to do the same simply by giving people a few options to choose from.

2. Faster Isn’t Always Better

I think the fan in my bedroom must be a close relative of a helicopter propeller. When it is at the highest speed, papers start flying, blinds begin rattling and it feels as if the whole room could come down at any moment.

Even when the house is as its hottest, the fan remains at medium speed. Sure, I could turn it up full blast, but while I would be cooler, I would be stuck cleaning up the remnants of my room. It is a good reminder that just because I can make something go faster, doesn’t mean the result is worth it.

3. We Become Complacent Easily

Does your ceiling fan rattle? Mind does. But I usually only notice it for like 2 seconds. Very quickly my ears just become used to it and I can no longer even hear the sound. If I get up, leave the room and then come back, I can hear it right away. I may even twist the light bulb or turn the glass casing, which usually fixes it. For like 2 seconds.

The noise comes back, but by that time I am sitting down and comfortable. I turn on the TV or zone out and the noise goes away. Because I lose focus on the issue so quickly, I am unlikely to fix the problem.

4. Going The Right Direction Makes All The Difference

These days, not only do fans have speed controls, but they also have the ability to change direction. When I first learned of this, I figured that it didn’t matter which the direction the fan went as long as it was spinning.

I was wrong. Apparently the direction matters very much. So much in fact, that one direction creates the feeling of cool air and the other direction creates warm air. Knowing which direction you want makes a world of difference.

5. Turn It Off When We Leave

Fun fact: regardless of the direction of rotation, fans actually add heat to a room. Fans never add cool air to the room, they only move the air around. The reason we feel cool with a fan is because of the wind chill effect.

It works like this…we sweat -> air mover over the sweat -> the evaporation rate increases. More evaporation = cooler sweat = cooler human.

Because of this, it does not make any sense to have a fan going if there is not someone in the room. All that happens is the electricity bill goes up and the room actually gets warmer.

Many of us have high stress jobs. We are constantly have to be on top of our game. But when we leave work, we may want to learn a lesson from fans and turn it off.