5 Science-Backed Ways to Have a Healthier Weekend

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…

5 Science-Backed Ways to Have a Healthier Weekend by Brianna Steinhilber

We are just hours from the weekend, so the timing of this article is perfect. Steinhilber presents a great science-based argument for how all our hard work during the week can “be completely derailed by the short span of time between happy hour on Friday and Sunday brunch.”

Some of the most interesting points include:

  • A study from Cornell University found that people tend to weigh a little bit more on Mondays than they do on Fridays.
  • Every one hour that sleep is shifted, we increase our risk of heart disease by 11 percent.
  • Research shows that people log the least amount of exercise Friday through Sunday, while bacon, beer and French fry consumption spike.
    Research shows that people log the least amount of exercise Friday through Sunday, while bacon, beer and French fry consumption spike.

For more great insight and helpful tips, you can read the entire article here.

Once In A Lifetime

This Monday, August 21, the United States will get a once in a lifetime opportunity. For the first time since 1918, a total solar eclipse will cross the country from sea to shining sea.

For those of you like me whose only knowledge about space is the name of George Jetson’s dog, a total eclipse is when the Earth, moon and sun all align, and the moon appears to block out the sun.

Eclipses happen all the time, but total eclipses are rare. Apparently it is harder to get the Earth, moon and sun to act together than it is Congress! Zing! That might be my first political joke ever and I know so little about politics that I am not even sure if it made sense. Is Congress being difficult still a thing?

Anywho, total eclipses don’t happen everyday. And the fact that it is happening in the U.S. is even more rare. Total eclipse events take place about  every year in the world, but America hasn’t had one since February 26, 1979. That year only a few people got to see it because it was only visible in Washington before traveling east to North Dakota and then moving into Canada.

And as I mentioned earlier it has been since 1918 that the total eclipse will go from coast to coast.

What is called the “path of totality” will cover a 70-mile wide path from Oregon to South Carolina. Side note, “path of totality” sounds like a great name for a movie with The Rock.

Those in the path will be witness to one of nature’s most impressive sights. And many people are expected to witness this once in a lifetime event.

Michael Zeiler, an eclipse cartographer estimates that between 1.85 million and 7.4 million people may commute into the path of totality.

Imagine 20 Woodstock festivals occurring simultaneously across the nation,” said Zeiler.

First of all, 1.85-7.4 million is strange range. How did they come up with that number? And are you really allowed to have a guess that includes a buffer of nearly 6 million? If you got stopped by the cops and told them you had somewhere between 2 and 8 drinks, they would definitely arrest you.

Second of all, Zeiler said it will be like 20 Woodstocks. Is he just saying that because there was so much drug usage that people thought they saw the sun being blacked out?

But I digress again. I promise there is a point to this post.

The point is that people are traveling great lengths to take in the total eclipse. Hotels are sold out, crazy traffic is expected and people from Goreville, Illinois have no clue what is about to hit their town.

People see a once in a lifetime chance and are seizing the opportunity.

Wouldn’t that be nice if we did that everyday?

Each day we let opportunities go to waste because we don’t act on them. We miss the chance to ask out the girl, start the book or eat pancakes for dinner. Maybe each one isn’t the only chance we will ever get. Or maybe it will. I know one thing, the more we let opportunities pass by, the more likely they become once more in a lifetime moments.

If only we had the power of NASA pinpointing the exact time and place we need to Carpe the Diem. I bet 1.85 to 7.4 million people would act then.

Why Do We Call Them the ‘Dog Days’ of Summer?

Recently, in my discussion of why schools have summer break I wrote, “There was no extra work to be found in the dog days of summer.” As soon as I wrote that, I wondered, “why do we call them the ‘dog days’ of summer?”

Here’s the answer…

Wonder Why Wednesday: Why Do We Call Them the ‘Dog Days’ of Summer?

According to National Geographic, the term “dog days of summer” has nothing to do with dogs lying around in the heat. The phrase stems from ancient Greek astrology.

As Wonderopolis confirms, the ancient Romans called the hottest, most humiddays of summer “diēs caniculārēs” or “dog days.” The star Sirius is associated with the hottest days of summer, and Sirius is known as the “Dog Star” because it was the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (Large Dog). Sirius also happens to be the brightest star in the night sky.

Because it is the brightest star, Romans thought it radiated an extra amount of heat toward Earth, causing hotter temperatures.

Romans considered from about July 24 to around August 24 to be the dog days of summer. Today, The Old Farmer’s Almanac lists the traditional timing of the dog days of summer as being July 3 until August 11.

Top 10 Lines From The Elements of Style

This year, I have highlighted the top 10 lines from a few great books about writing (here, here & here). With so many wonderful writing books to read, I figure I will keep these top 10 lists coming.

This month’s top 10 comes from The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. & E.B. White.

Here are what I found to be the book’s top 10 lines:

#10 –

Omit needless words.”

#9 –

The mind travels faster than the pen; consequently, writing becomes a question of learning to make occasional wing shots, bringing down the bird of thought as it flashes by. A writer is a gunner, sometimes waiting in the blind for something to come in, sometimes roaming the countryside hoping to scare something up.”

#8 –

Write in a way that comes easily and naturally to you, using words and phrases that come readily to hand.”

#7 –

Do not explain too much. It is seldom advisable to tell all.”

#6 –

No one can write decently who is distrustful of the reader’s intelligence, or whose attitude is patronizing.”

#5 –

When a sentence is made stronger, it usually becomes shorter. Thus, brevity is a by-product of vigor.”

#4 –

Your whole duty as a writer is to please and satisfy yourself, and the true writer always plays to an audience of one. Start sniffing the air, or glancing at the Trend Machine, and you are as good as dead, although you may make a nice living.”

#3 –

Remember, it is no sign of weakness or defeat that your manuscript ends up in need of major surgery. This is a common occurrence in all writing, and among the best writers.”

#2 –

Write in a way that draws the reader’s attention to the sense and substance of the writing, rather than to the mood and temper of the author.”

#1 –

Avoid fancy words. avoid the elaborate, the pretentious, they coy and the cute. Do not be tempted by a twenty-dollar word when there is a ten-center handy.”

Where is Sesame Street Located?

I’ve always been terrible with directions. If not for the GPS on my phone, I doubt I’d ever get anywhere. I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember.

Once in junior high, my parents were late to pick me up from basketball practice and my coach offered to take me home. Only one problem. For the life of me, I could not describe how to get to my house.

Outside of knowing the city, I could not provide any other important facts, like crossroads or even zip code. It was not as if we had just moved houses. I had been driven to that same house for years but was unable to recall how to get there.

In my defense, I was just a kid. At that point in my life, the only place I had asked to locate was how to get to Sesame Street. And I didn’t know how to get there either.

Eventually I learned my crossroads, my zip code and figured out where the heck I lived.

The other day I was watching this Kid President video featuring Grover from Sesame Street and it got me thinking…where is Sesame Street? I realized that although I had figured out how to locate my own home, I had never uncovered the answer that the show’s intro asks, “can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?”

Luckily that is what Wonder Why Wednesday is for.

Where is Sesame Street Located?

According to Wikipedia, the fictional Sesame Street is set to represent a Manhattan street in a neighborhood of New York City. However, the show’s creators disagree on the specific neighborhood where you can find Big Bird, Bert and Ernie.

Art director Victor DiNapoli thinks that it is supposed to be located on the Upper West Side. The show’s founder, Joan Ganz Cooney, stated in 1994 that she originally wanted to call the show 123 Avenue B, after the Alphabet City area of the Lower East Side and East Village.

So the exact location is undetermined.

My 12-year old self would be able to relate to that.

This Is What Inspired Today’s Post About Roadblocks

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 the first one about today’s post Looking For Roadblocks:

The idea all started when I was watching a YouTube video of Dave Ramsey interviewing Mark Cuban. Cuban was talking about Shark Tank and how the show demonstrates that anyone can start a business and achieve the American Dream. From there he said the following:

Ideas are easy…What good is an idea if you don’t believe in it and you have to believe in it enough to take those first steps…When you have an idea and you get some confirmation of the idea you start looking for roadblocks because people are afraid to do the work or they are afraid to take those steps.”

That quote resonated with me. Probably because I am in the middle of working on a new book and am filled with all those fears that Cuban mentioned.

I figured that if two millionaires are talking about it, maybe us regular folk could learn from it. I can’t be the only one who has those thoughts.

That convinced me that the topic was post-worthy so I started thinking about how I could write about this topic (actually, I first had to Google if roadblock was one word or two words. Once I had that answer I was ready to begin). One way was to just post the video. That would have been fine, but I wanted to write a little more that that. So I had to find a way to tell a story in which I could incorporate Cuban’s idea.

Right around that time, I nearly crashed my car into a roadblock. Yes, that is an actual story. Maybe it was perked up a bit to get your attention — like the part about wiping the sweat off my forehead. Chances are I was already sweaty prior to the roadblock because it is summer in Arizona and I am a generally sweaty person. But the point remains the same.

So I had my overall point. Then I had my way to convey the point. Now all I needed was the ability to get past the roadblocks that were trying to convince me that the post would be no good.

I figured if I couldn’t get past that for this post then I would never be able to.

So here we are. That is how that blog post came about.

 

Side note: You can watch the entire Ramsey & Cuban interview here.

 

Looking For Roadblocks

The other day I was driving and about to make a left hand turn onto a street I had gone down my entire life. I’d made this turn hundreds of times so I was only half paying attention to driving and half paying attention to an audio book.

I nearly drove right into a sign that said “Road Closed.” This wasn’t a tiny sign like the kind your wife gives you when she drops hints about where she wants to go out to eat for your anniversary. It was a giant roadblock, like the kind your wife gives you when you try to check your fantasy football team during your anniversary dinner.

Thankfully, I noticed the sign just in time to swerve into the makeshift lane that was created to allow traffic to pass. From there I turned off the audio book, wiped the sweat off my forehead, grabbed the wheel with two hands and kept on driving.

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. Let me explain…

I am currently working on my forth children’s book (more about that to come soon). Every time I work on a new book I follow the same pattern. I find an idea that I like. Then I start to outline a book. Next, I stop everything I am doing. Then I spend months convincing myself that this is a terrible idea. I brainstorm dozens of reasons why no one will read the book.

The topic is too boring. The story is overdone. No one wants to read all those puns. And the list goes on and on.

Before I even get started, my writing is crippled by the roadblocks I have created for myself. This would be like never moving my car from my garage because I know that one left hand turn contains a roadblock and will reduce my progress to one lane.

I would never do that while driving. I would take the roadblocks as they come and find a way to get to my destination. Even if I nearly crash, I will wipe my forehead and keep going.

Yet, in writing, I am often stalled because I am too busy looking for roadblocks. Does any of this sound familiar in your life? This isn’t just limited to writing. We do the same in dating, finances and pretty much everything else.

Before we let an idea get off the ground we try to find roadblocks. What makes a person successful is the ability to see past the roadblocks just enough to get started.

Once we get started we are going to come across roadblocks. Maybe my book isn’t going to be exciting enough for some people. Perhaps some readers will not like the 371st pun.

Not everyone is going to like our ides. But rather than have those limitations prevent us from going anywhere it is better to take those roadblocks as they come. Yes they may reduce our progress. Yes they may take a chunk out of our confidence. But no matter what they do, they can’t hurt us more than they will if they prevent us from ever getting started.

The One Time To Procrastinate

I am prone to procrastination. I keep a calendar that is more flexible than a gymnast, constantly pushing back tasks that I just don’t feel like doing. If putting things off until tomorrow was an Olympic sport, I might win a gold medal (and I would also be very concerned about the future of the Olympics. Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled to be representing my country, but I can’t help but wonder why the Olympics are letting in such random events).

However, there is one thing that I struggle with pushing out until tomorrow…tomorrow’s problems.

Before you think that last line was just another classic Adam typo, think about it. Do you ever worry about tomorrow’s problems? Of course you do. We all do.

We spend most of our today worrying about tomorrow. We worry about tomorrow’s test, tomorrow’s task and tomorrow’s talk. We spend many of our current 24 hours thinking about our next 24 hours.

Worry, worry, worry. It can become quite a burden.

If there is one thing we need to learn to procrastinate about, it is tomorrow’s problems. If we can only learn to do that, we will have more time for today’s problems. Author Max Lucado says it best:

Meet today’s problems with today’s strength. Don’t start tackling tomorrow’s problems until tomorrow. You do not have tomorrow’s strength yet. You simply have enough for today.”

When our minds start to wander toward tomorrow’s problems, we need to learn to push those back a day. Those are okay to bump from today’s to do list. That will give us more strength to take on today’s worries.

Who Invented The Chair?

Last month, I answered the question: What are nooks & crannies? In the course of finding the answer one thing really stood out…Nooks and crannies are old. Nooks have been round since the mid-1300s & crannies date back to around 1440.

That got me thinking about other house hold items and wondering how old they are. I didn’t have to look too far around the house before I started wondering something different. 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.

You might want to sit down before you hear read this…

Sitting down? Okay, good.

Today I am going to answer that very important question…Who invented the chair?

We just established that you were sitting down. I can’t confirm where you are sitting. You may be on a couch. You may be on your bed. You may be sitting criss-cross apple sauce. But if by chance you are sitting on a chair, wouldn’t you like to know who you have to thank for that chair?

Let’s see if we can find out…

According to Quora, “chairs were first invented way back in caveman times, when someone took a rock and sat on it.”

Thanks a lot, Quora, but I am looking for a little better answer.

Ask.com provides a little more information:

The ancient Egyptians are believed to be the first to invent a four-legged seat with a back, better known to most as a chair. The earliest examples have been found in tombs dating as far back as 2680 B.C”

Wow! Chairs are old.

I guess it makes sense that ancient Egyptians invented chairs, but I’d be lying if I said I am not a little sad by that simplistic answer. I was hoping it was some guy named Mr. Chair (perhaps his name was Charlie & Chadwick) who hated sitting in mud so he built something to sit on. I was looking forward to reading all about the family fortune and how it ripped the Chair family apart.

Oh well.

If you are interested in learning more about chairs and how they have changed throughout the years, check out this great History of Chairs on Wikipedia.