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. Teen Makes ‘Sit With Us’ App That Helps Students Find Lunch Buddies – A 16-year-old from Sherman Oaks, California created an app that helps students find a place to sit and make friends in the lunchroom.
  2. Airplane Passenger’s Kind Gesture Brings Mom to Tears – It is hard enough being pregnant on a flight. The space is cramped and no one wants to sit by you. Now imagine that, plus having to take care of a crying 1-year-old child. A mother traveling from Minneapolis to Atlanta was going through this struggle when a man seated nearby approached her and offered to help sooth the infant so she could get some rest.
  3. Buckeye Lightning Strike Victim Is Saved By Neighbor – Trust me, you will want to read this story. It is the perfect example of living out the message to love your neighbor.
  4. 12-Year-old Creates First App to Help Alzheimer’s Patients Keep Track of Things – Yep, another story about a young person creating an app to help others. It is amazing the good things that can come from technology.
  5. An 8-year-old Writes a Book and Donates Its Profits to Charity – 8-year-old author Emma Sumner was challenged by her dad to write a 150-word story over summer break. The challenge turned into a 10,000 word fairy tale and the best part is she is donating the money she earns from the first few months of sales to Autism Speaks.

The Most Important Thing You Need To Know About The iPhone 7

What if I told you that your cell phone could have better battery life, weigh less and feature improved audio quality – you’d be on board, right? What’s the catch, you might ask. Okay, there is a slight catch, but all you have to give up is technology that is 52 years old.

Would you do it?

Seems reasonable to give up something that is so outdated for major improvements, doesn’t it? But, as Apple’s latest iPhone reminded us last week, when it comes to change, we are anything but reasonable.

Apple announced that its latest phone will not have headphone jacks. No, they aren’t preventing us from listening to music or podcasts. They aren’t even getting rid of our ability to use headphones. They are simply changing how we use them.

And, like many people, my first thought, was “this is crazy. What are they thinking?”

Turns out, they are thinking of us, the consumer. Apparently, the 3.5-millimeter headphone jack is considered to be a very old technology. In fact, it hasn’t changed since it was introduced in 1964. In what other aspects of our life do we settle for ancient utilities? That would be like getting a new flavor of Pop Tart and having to heat it up using a candle (okay, so maybe the iPhone is nothing like a Pop Tart…I must be hungry).

The jack may seem small on the outside, but like a stuffed crust pizza (still hungry), it is huge on the inside. So big, that is it one of the bulkiest components of our phone. By removing it, phones will get thinner, waterproof and sound better.

In time, people surely will like the results of killing off the headphone jack, but for now it hurts. As I have written about many times, we hate change — people even hated street lights when they were first invented. Even when change is for our own good, we still hate it. We focus on the initial difficulties — will I have to get new headphones, how will I charge my phone and listen to music at the same time?

Yes, those things will take some time adjusting to. But if we step back long enough to see the positives, we will see that this change (and many others like it) isn’t so bad after all.

What Was The Largest Victory In Presidential Election History?

Only in America are people trusted with so much responsibility. We hold the fate of a nation in our hands. We are blessed to have the ability to shape the future by voting for one nut or another nut.

And the results are in…

Coffee Nut beat out Honey Nut and Chili Nut in the M&M contest to select the next peanut flavor. Wait, what did you think I was talking about??

2016 will go down as a big year for voters. In January we had the final season of American Idol (some dude from Mississippi won), and in a couple months we will have that whole presidential election thing (I doubt some dude from Mississippi will win).

To use a line I wrote in a previous post, I treat politics in much the same way that I treat Siri on my phone. I am not really sure how it works, most of the time it does not answer the question it was asked, and I would prefer if it had an English accent.

But despite my lack of knowledge, I caught myself wondering about president elections the other day. I wasn’t very concerned with this election though. I wanted to know about previous elections, mainly which ones were the most one-sided. Surely some elections were blowouts, right? Let’s find out in today’s edition of Wonder Why Wednesday…

What Was The Largest Victory In Presidential Election History?

If 2016 is the year of elections, 1920 may be the year of blowouts.

  • USA ran away with the summer Olympic medal count, with 31 more medals than 2nd place Sweden.
  • The Boston Red Sox were destroyed by the New York Yankees when they traded Babe Ruth for $125,000 and a $350,000 loan.
  • The Cleveland Indians crushed the Brooklyn Robins in the World Series, winning five games to two — apparently they played a best of nine back then (side note, when I first read those team names I thought it said the Baskin Robbins, which instantly became my favorite baseball team).

And last, but not least, Warren Harding defeated James Cox by winning 26.17% of the popular vote — the biggest margin in US presidential election history.

The election came on the heels of World War I, and the country was none to happy with departing president, Democrat Woodrow Wilson. Harding, the Republican, ran a campaign that focused on highlighting the errors of the Democratic party. He wanted to show the nation it was time for a change. And the public agreed, rewarding Harding a landslide victory.

Interested in seeing a list of the top 10 widest margins in election history? Check out this World Atlas article that has a complete list of largest popular vote victories In US Presidential election history.

New Maury C. Moose Book

Big news…

The latest Maury C. Moose book is coming soon! Titled Maury C. Moose and The Ninja Worrier, the third story in my children’s book series will be released this month.

In the new book, Maury & Mikey must help out a new friend whose size & strength suggest he is destined to become Forest Noel’s next great warrior. But there is just one little problem. This wannabe ninja is afraid of his own shadow…and his dad’s!

The third book in the Maury C. Moose series continues its fun use of parody, puns, and rhymes to teach kids that we all have talents that make us unique. Join Maury and friends as they learn how to find those special talents.

maury-c-moose-book-3-front-cover

Another Example of Great Writing

The world is full of great writing. So I decided I would highlight some examples whenever I stumble on them. Here’s one I came across from Once I Pass’d Through a Populous City by Walt Whitman.

Day by day and night by night we were together,—All else has long been forgotten by me.”

In this poem, Whitman is writing about a time he went on vacation and wanted to remember everything about the city he was visiting — the “architecture, customs, and traditions.” But try as he might, he only remembers one thing, a woman he met during his travels.

An average writer would have said something like, “I had a good trip, but being with you was the best part.” A good writer would have said something along the lines of, “our time spent together meant more to me than anything else I experienced on my trip.”

As someone who not only appreciates great writing, but also has a bad memory, I particularly like the way Whitman chose to word his line.

That is some great writing!

5 Things We Can Learn From The Arizona Cardinals

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 I will be paying very close attention to for the next 17 weeks (and hopefully a few more after that)…

5 Things We Can Learn From The Arizona Cardinals

1. Failure Is Not Fatal

For most of my life, you would only need to look in one place to find the Cardinals — the bottom of the NFL standings. In their 28 years of playing in Arizona, they have finished with a winning record just six times. However, three of those times have come in the last three years. All of a sudden, they have gone from laughing stock to respected franchise.

A famous John Wooden quote says, “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.” The Cardinals failed many times since coming to Phoenix in 1988. Many times it appeared as if they would never win. But luckily for Arizona sports fans, their failure was not fatal. They have figured out how to change and are beginning to reap the rewards.
2. Individuals Can Change

If there is one Cardinal player who is a walking billboard for the above Wooden quote it is Tyrann Mathieu. Mathieu has failed school, drug tests, and recently his knees have failed him. He carries failure like experienced travelers carry neck pillows.

Despite all that, the scrappy safety is seen as one of the best defensive players in the NFL. Like the Cardinals organization, he has not let that failure become fatal. He has cleaned up his life, his image and (Cardinals’ fans hope) his knee problems.

3. You Need The Right People In The Right Places

My football knowledge is limited but I know this much…when the Cardinals were bad, their owner was bad. And when their owner was bad, their coaches were bad. And when their coaches were bad, their players were bad. Sure they have good players and coaches here and there, but never enough and never in the right positions.

Now they are good because they have a future hall of famer in Larry Fitzgerald, a top 10 head coach in Bruce Arians, and a star quarterback in Caron Palmer. They have all the ingredients needed for success. Something they haven’t always been able to say

4. Continuity Is Critical

The Cardinals return every player who scored an offensive touchdown last season — something that is unheard of in the era where players change teams more than most people change toothbrushes. This familiarity may not seem like much, but in a league that is so balanced, even the tiniest sliver can make a huge impact.

5. With Great Power Comes Great Expectations

Sorry Spiderman’s uncle, responsibility is not the only thing that comes with having great power. Expectations are also known to follow the powerful. When the Cardinals were bad, they had no expectations (except maybe to lose 12 games). Now, they are being picked to win the Super Bowl. It is clear they have the power, now we’ll find out if they can live up to those expectations.

Are You Ready For Some Football?

Tonight marks the beginning of the NFL season, as defending champion Denver Broncos hosts the Carolina Panthers in a rematch of Super Bowl 50. With a blank slate, fans of all 30 teams have that glimmer of hope in their eyes. Hope just may carry them to February 5, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, the site of Super Bowl LI (is it just me or would Super Bowl LI make a great name for a movie starring Jet Li).

I am a football fan, a fact that often comes through in my writing, and with the start of a fresh season, I thought it would make sense to highlight some of my football-related posts from the past few years. Enjoy…

What was the first NFL game ever played?

Who Was The First Ever NFL Draft Pick?

Why Do the Dallas Cowboys & Detroit Lions Always Play on Thanksgiving?

Where Did The Name Quarterback Come From?

Make Fear Look Like Peyton Manning

Thankful For The Super Bowl

Why Can’t We Wear White After Labor Day?

Unless there is a drastic change to the definition of the word mogul, I will never be referred to as a “fashion mogul.” My closet is full of free t-shirts, basketball shorts and clothes I acquired back when Lance Armstrong was still an American hero.

I know very little about clothing trends or traditions, so today’s Wonder Why Wednesday question should come as no surprise…

Why We Can’t Wear White After Labor Day?

According to Time, many fashion etiquette experts do not even know how it became frowned upon to where white after the first Monday in September. The general consensus is one of two explanations: practicality or symbolism.

Before Under Armor, Speed Stick and those tiny fans that spray water in your face, there was only one surefire way to take some of the bite out of the summer heat — wear white. “Not only was there no air-conditioning, but people did not go around in T shirts and halter tops. They wore what we would now consider fairly formal clothes,” says Judith Martin, better known as etiquette columnist Miss Manners. “And white is of a lighter weight.”

But when the calendar turns to September, the weather begins to cool down. And with cooler weather, there is no longer the need to feature an all-white wardrobe. So the common belief is that white was nixed and the darker colors reemerged when the temperature began to drop.

But not everyone believes that theory. As Valerie Steele, director of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, puts it, “Very rarely is there actually a functional reason for a fashion rule.” So this is where the explanation of symbolism comes into play.

Around the turn of the 20th century, white was the color worn by wealthy Americans who could escape urban life in the summer. With Labor Day typically marking the end of summer, these vacationers ditched their white summer gear and slipped into their darker-colored clothing. “There used to be a much clearer sense of re-entry,” says Steele. “You’re back in the city, back at school, back doing whatever you’re doing in the fall — and so you have a new wardrobe.”

The exact reason may not truly be known, but does it really matter. Does anyone actually follow the no white after Labor Day rule these days? If you do, let me know in the comments section below.