I found this meme on a Viva Frei video. (The link is to give credit; I'm not asking anyone to watch the video, which is an hour and 40 minutes long.)

I'm leaving it as it is for now, for those who enjoy puzzles. What's going on here? (I'll explain later.)

Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, November 29, 2022 at 11:44 am | Edit
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Sometimes you try to please everyone, sometimes you preach to the choir.  I'm enjoying the following video series so much I have to share it. Not everyone will like it. My Texan friends probably will (unless they're from Austin); my California friends maybe not so much. Both cultures are stereotyped, but the Texas culture is more positively portrayed. At least I think so—but then, I'm a pretty solid Floridian at this point.  If you get it, have fun!  If you don't, please just ignore it and move on.

This series of videos from the Babylon Bee is about a California couple who—like many Californians—has recently moved to Texas. There are five episodes so far, and I hope it has a long run. Despite the exaggerations, there's some serious truth here. I realize that judging California by its excesses is as unfair as when the rest of the world judges the United States by how we appear in the media, but neither judgement is without some reason.

Californians Move to Texas | Episode 1: Moving Day (4 minutes)

Californians Move to Texas | Episode 2: The Cookout (6 minutes)

Californians Move to Texas | Episode 3: The Church (5.5 minutes)

Californians Move to Texas | Episode 4: The Gun Range (6 minutes)


The next one isn't the funniest, but I love it because of Buc-ee's. For the uninitiated, Buc-ee's is kind of like Wawa on steroids, and the same goes for its cult following. Texas-sized! Not to mention the best bathrooms by far on I-95. And yes, the jerky wall.

Californians Move to Texas | Episode 5: Buc-ee's (6 minutes)

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, November 26, 2022 at 9:56 am | Edit
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YouTube is not exactly reliable when it comes to recommending videos for me to watch, but look what showed up in my sidebar tonight:

As most of my readers know, I'm a huge fan of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings books, but not of the movies for a number of reasons. Even though I feel the film story line and characterization are a betrayal of the spirit Tolkien put into his world, I can't deny that there are parts of the movies that are excellent, from the New Zealand setting to the music, and of course I adore this version.

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, November 12, 2022 at 8:05 pm | Edit
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When we visited the Netherlands with our overseas family, our trip to Madurodam was a hit with all of us. I can only imagine what a visit to Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg, Germany would be like. A friend posted this on Facebook, and I knew the family members who are entranced by minatures needed to see it.

Unbelievably, the airport is just one "small" part of Miniatur Wonderland. Here's the official video (English version) that shows a lot more. In fact, it shows A LOT more, as in: this realistic, exquisitly-crafted, miniature world is decidedly Not-Safe-For-Grandchildren in places, as you can see.

If we ever get to Hamburg, I'm going to visit it anyway.

Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, November 1, 2022 at 10:22 am | Edit
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Who says vegetables have no feelings? That's a hug if I ever saw one.

I thought "caduceus," but Siamese twins is another possiblity. All body parts were intact; unfortunately, I was unable to separate them without damage.

Heartless omnivore that I am, after my unsuccessful surgery, I ate them.

They were delicious.

Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, October 18, 2022 at 6:57 am | Edit
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A long time ago, in a Presbyterian church far, far away....

One Sunday, when our family was working the sound booth, the pastor was expounding on the beliefs of John Calvin and of Charles Hodge. Our young children, safely hidden from congregational eyes, were sprawled out of sight, half dozing, as they awaited the end of the sermon.

But they weren't sleeping, as evidence by they rapidity with which they shot up, eyes wide open, when the pastor raised his voice in the triumphant proclamation,

I stand with Calvin and Hodge!

Suddenly the sermon, and their pastor, had become a lot more interesting.

I found it odd that the congregation did not laugh. Maybe, because they were familiar with Charles Hodge, they were less susceptible to mis-hearing the name.

At the beginning of the Gospel reading in church last Sunday, the congregation didn't laugh either. But I know that I heard what I heard, because Porter did, too, and laughed along with me. Quietly—I like to think subtly—but we did laugh. Wouldn't you if this were the image that came into your mind?

The reader really did put an extra "D" in Luke 17:12.

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, October 15, 2022 at 6:28 am | Edit
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It's time for another in my series of YouTube channel discoveries. I resent the amount of time it takes to get information out of the video/podcast format, but it's so popular these days that it has become a major source for interesting and helpful information. So I'm unapologetically recommending another video channel: Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying's DarkHorse Podcast. That link is to their podcast website, but I usually watch it via their two YouTube channels: Full Podcasts, and Clips. Full podcasts are long. Very long. They would be great on a car journey, not so much in everyday life, unless you have a lot of work to do that doesn't require much thinking. I can fix dinner while listening to a podcast, but I sure can't write a blog post. Clips, on the other hand, are much shorter (maybe five to twenty minutes). Focussing on clips means I miss good insights, but giving in to Fear of Missing Out is a pathway to madness.

I've mentioned Bret and Heather before, in my Independence Hall Speech post, so it's about time I gave them their due. I must also give due credit to the good friend who introduced me to DarkHorse, as well as to Viva Frei, and remained patient with me even though it was at least a year later before I finally got around to checking them out.  Thank you, wise friend.  (There's but an infinitesimal chance he'll actually see that, but still, credit where credit is due.)

By way of introduction, the following quotes are from their DarkHorse Podcast website:

In weekly livestreams of the DarkHorse podcast, Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying explore a wide range of topics, all investigated with an evolutionary lens. From the evolution of consciousness to the evolution of disease, from cultural critique to the virtues of spending time outside, we have open-ended conversations that reveal not just how to think scientifically, but how to disagree with respect and love.

We are scientists who hope to bring scientific thinking, and its insights, to everyone. Too often, the trappings of science are used to exclude those without credentials, degrees, or authority. But science belongs to us all, and its tools should be shared as widely as possible. DarkHorse is a place where scientific concepts, and a scientific way of thinking, are made accessible, without diminishing their power.

We are politically liberal, former college professors, and evolutionary biologists. Among our audience are conservatives, people without college educations, and religious folk. We treat everyone with respect, and do not look down on those with whom we disagree.

Needless to say, I often disagree with them—sometimes strongly—but more often I find their insights at least reasonable. And it is always interesting to listen in on their conversations. I take great pleasure in hearing smart people interact with each other—assuming they're polite, which Bret and Heather always are. It's also particularly satisfying in the rare circumstances when I find I know something that these highly intelligent people, with much greater knowledge than I, don't. I love living in Florida, at least in its current free-state situation, but I've never gotten over the loss of the intellectual stimulation that came with having the University of Rochester within walking distance.

I find DarkHorse so diverse and absorbing that it's really hard to limit myself to three examples here. But you can always check it out for yourself. Here are a couple of hints: Bret and Heather's speech is measured enough that I can hear it at 1.5x speed, and Porter can manage 2x. I prefer not to speed it up, but it is a time saver. An ever greater help with the full podcasts is that, once the livestream is over and the video is set on YouTube, you can hover your mouse over places along the progress bar and see where a particular subject begins and ends. I sure wish more long videos would provide that information.

Warning: Objectionable language occurs, though rarely, in the DarkHorse Podcasts.

Multi-age education (11 minutes)


When science is not science (9 minutes) 


Wikipedia redefines recession (19 minutes)


I'll close with some advice from their website, which makes me smile every time I read it.

Be good to the ones you love,
Eat good food, and
Get outside.

Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, September 20, 2022 at 5:32 am | Edit
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Sometimes, you just have to make a meme.  It's so much more fun than getting angry about the relentless and ubiquitous anti-meat propaganda these days.

Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, September 8, 2022 at 9:03 pm | Edit
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Thanksgiving has apparently come early to Florida.

We awoke to the news that Interstate 4 just north of us was shut down when a semi loaded with frozen turkeys caught fire. (You can see pictures at that link.)

According to news reports, no one was injured. Except the turkeys.

I've heard of some strange ways of cooking a Thanksgiving turkey, including smoking, deep-frying, and my brother-in-law's favorite turkey-in-the-trash-can method.

But roasting them in a tractor-trailer, followed by steaming after the fire department arrives? That's a new one.

Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, August 4, 2022 at 11:00 am | Edit
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You know how after you've watched a video on YouTube, it goes on to show you some other video it thinks you might like? Usually it's off base, but the first video below so entranced me that I went on to watch the next two in the series. Erik Singer is a dialect coach, and his tour of accents across America is entertaining and fascinating. Even if he ignores most of Florida, and you have to endure some awkward and annoying "politically correct" speech along the way.

Part 1 (22 minutes)

Part 2 (14 minutes)

Part 3 (11 minutes)


Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, July 31, 2022 at 4:21 pm | Edit
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[This post was originally entitled, "Camouflage"; I've now changed that to make it part of my "YouTube Channel Discoveries" series.]

Here's another YouTube channel we've been enjoying: Chris Cappy's Task and Purpose. How on earth could I enjoy videos about military tactics, strategy, history, and weapons? Here's a quote from the channel's About section:

Chris Cappy the host is a former us army infantryman and Iraq Veteran. This YouTube channel is a forum for all things military. From historical information to the latest news on weapons programs. We discuss all these details from the veteran's perspective. The first priority with our videos is to be entertaining.

I guess it's the last sentence. Chris Cappy is knowledgeable and entertaining. He may bill himself as "your average infantryman," but he's not your average military college professor droning on in the front of an auditorium filled with bored students.

The video that hooked me is the one below, How Camouflage Evolved (15 minutes). I'm certain we have grandchildren who would find it as enjoyable as I did.

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, June 25, 2022 at 10:40 am | Edit
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A friend, who has been experiencing the dating scene, offered the following warning.  I just fancied it up a bit.

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 at 6:46 am | Edit
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Brandon Sanderson, in addition to taking obvious pleasure in his work, appears to have discovered why it's so much fun to be rich. I don't mean super-rich—I'm sure that comes with 'way too much responsibility to be really enjoyable. Net worth calculations can be tricky, but the best I can find online is that Sanderson is worth somewhere between four and eight million dollars. If Elon Musk's net worth of more than 270 billion dollars (as of 3/26/22) were a one-liter bottle of liquid, Sanderson's would be about half a drop.

That being said, Sanderson has enough money to do random fun things with it. With five days to go on his most recent Kickstarter project, (now finished) his support level was over $34 million and still counting rapidly. It hardly needs to be said that the money is not profit, but will go towards the project it is funding. Still, the response prodded him to consider how he might give back a bit to the Kickstarter community.

He and his staff decided to take a look at the Kickstarter projects in the Publishing category, and to back them all, excepting only those which might violate his conscience or Kickstarter policies. That ended up being over 300 projects, several of which he highlighted as projects his own fans might like to look into. Occasionally, if the project was near the end of its campaign and seemed to be struggling, they made sure the project reached its goal.

Watching the YouTube video of the process (best done at double speed), I could feel the joy Sanderson and the team were feeling in helping out other writers. I know some find his personality abrasive, but I like his enthusiasm.

I only hope that he's inspired to do something like this when my nephew is ready to publish his first fantasy novel!

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, April 18, 2022 at 8:47 am | Edit
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How does this guy know what's going on in my brain? Maybe it's Google's fault.

It was years ago that I learned to understand the way my brain works using the image of Li'l Writer Guy. That is still 100% true, but there's more to it. Recently I discovered this video ("Me and My ADHD," 4.5 minutes).

I don't have ADHD, but there's more to life than diagnoses. I think many of us will identify with this kind of distractability.

Speaking of ADHD, here's another one by the same folks (under 4 minutes). Just for fun.

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, April 6, 2022 at 8:07 am | Edit
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I've backed a few Kickstarter projects in my time, at the intersection of an interesting concept, a person or cause I'd like to support, and an affordable price. That's how my beloved Green Ember books began, though they've since moved on to more standard publishing.

That's not a one-way street. Brandon Sanderson—my eldest grandson's favorite author, whose books are prized by several others in our family, including me—has a current Kickstarter project going, even though he's multi, multi-published in the ordinary way.

But I don't think I'll be backing this one.

First, the lowest tier of support is $40, which is not exorbitant considering you get four e-books at that level, and $10 is a pretty standard price for his books on Kindle. But I can easily wait for a sale. I'm a fan, but nowhere near a FAN fan.

More importantly, Sanderson hardly needs my support. Even after deciding not to back the project, I've been checking in occasionally on the Kickstarter page for the amusement of watching the numbers climb. When I was a young child, I loved to watch the numbers grow on the gas pump as the tank filled, and I always rooted for a new record high. My parents didn't quite share my enthusiasm.

Sanderson's project is now the number one Kickstarter project of all time, and that by a huge margin.

I thought a million dollars was an ambitious goal, but apparently it had reached ten million before the first day was over.

Eighteen days into the campaign, I captured the following screenshot:

It will be much higher by the time I hit, "Publish." The pace has slowed a bit, but you can still watch the numbers grow in real time, even if it's now more of a 1950's gas pump pace than 2022.

More than 17,000 people have backed this project at the highest ($500) level.

How's that for an author most of you have never heard of?

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, March 18, 2022 at 3:56 pm | Edit
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