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.

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

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.

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.

What Johnny Cash Can Teach Us About Worrying

Do you keep a to do list? If so, you have something in common with Johnny Cash.

In December 2010, one of Johnny Cash’s to-do list sold at auction for $6,250.

Johnny cash to do list

It is fun to see the things he had on his list. Some are funny, like “pee.” Some are surprising, like “practice piano.” I guess even the great ones need to be reminded to practice their craft (and go to the bathroom).

What stood out to me was #8 “worry.”

I can’t be sure why Cash put worry on his list of things to do, so I am going to speculate for a minute. Suppose Cash knew that in the course of his day it would be inevitable that he would worry about something. By adding “worry” to his to do list, he may have been creating a preemptive strike.

He wasn’t going to let worry creep up on him. He was going to schedule it into his day and then be done. Maybe he thought that if he had it on his to do list, it would be easier to check it off and move on to something more important, like visiting his mother.

Again, I don’t know why “worry” was on his list, anymore than I know why “cough” was on the list. But maybe, just maybe, Cash was telling himself to worry about today, today and save tomorrow’s worries for tomorrow.

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.

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.”