I've mentioned before situations in which fear has led to unreasonable responses to the COVID-19 threat. Whether by governments or by private citizens, that's a bad thing. However, this is still funny.

For those who are wondering, HEMA stands for Historical European Martial Arts.

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, March 15, 2021 at 3:44 am | Edit
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Is this poking the bear? It's not original; I found it and it made me laugh. We need some laughs!

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 6:22 am | Edit
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With the Fifth Amendment to our Constitution now joining the First and Second under attack, it's time for a brief review of the first ten, otherwise known as the Bill of Rights.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.

Amendment III

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment VII

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

That's the bare bones; I leave analysis of these amendments as an exercise for the reader.

Just for fun, here are a few Sporcle games (roughly in order of diffculty) to help keep the bones of these amendments (and more) fresh in our minds. 

Click Your Rights

Bill of Rights 1

Bill of Rights 2

Constitutional Amendments 1

Constitutional Amendments 2

Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, February 7, 2021 at 8:25 am | Edit
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This is from the BBC, perhaps more trustworthy than some news sites? Pretty funny, anyway.

Scientists studied more than 1,000 foods, assigning each a nutritional score. The higher the score, the more likely each food would meet, but not exceed your daily nutritional needs, when eaten in combination with others.

Of course, "scientists" is a meaningless designation, and it's not clear how the foods tested were chosen, but they later add,

Food selection, ranking and cost based on the scientific study “Uncovering the Nutritional Landscape of Food”, published in the journal PLoS ONE.

So presumably one could find out more details. Below are their top 100, followed by the designated nutritional scores. Note that 99 of the foods are from plant or fish sources—but take a good look at the food ranked #8. Food for thought.

  1. almonds: 97
  2. cherimoya: 96
  3. ocean perch: 89
  4. flatfish: 88
  5. chia seeds: 85
  6. pumpkin seeds: 84
  7. swiss chard: 78
  8. pork fat: 73
  9. beet greens: 70
  10. snapper: 69
  11. dried parsley: 69
  12. celery flakes: 68
  13. watercress: 68
  14. tangerines: 67
  15. green peas: 67
  16. pike: 65
  17. alaskan pollock: 65
  18. green onion: 65
  19. red cabbage: 65
  20. pacific cod: 64
  21. scallops: 64
  22. pink grapefruit: 64
  23. dandelion greens: 64
  24. frozen spinach: 64
  25. chili powder: 63
  26. basil: 63
  27. collards: 63
  28. clams: 62
  29. chili peppers: 62
  30. broccoli raab: 62
  31. kale: 62
  32. whiting: 61
  33. atlantic cod: 61
  34. mustard leaves: 61
  35. romaine lettuce: 61
  36. coriander: 61
  37. whitefish: 60
  38. fish roe: 60
  39. apricots: 60
  40. cress: 60
  41. chinese cabbage: 60
  42. sea bass: 59
  43. herring: 59
  44. parsley: 59
  45. fresh spinach: 59
  46. walnuts: 58
  47. red cherries: 58
  48. butter lettuce: 58
  49. cow peas: 58
  50. podded peas: 58
  51. plantain: 57
  52. navy beans: 57
  53. summer squash: 57
  54. coho salmon: 56
  55. blue fin tuna: 56
  56. eel: 56
  57. lima beans: 56
  58. taro leaves: 56
  59. green lettuce: 56
  60. green tomatoes: 56
  61. red tomatoes: 56
  62. paprika: 55
  63. chives: 55
  64. arugula: 55
  65. sockeye salmon: 54
  66. mackerel: 54
  67. grapefruit: 54
  68. golden kiwi fruit: 54
  69. green kiwi fruit: 54
  70. cayenne pepper: 54
  71. leeks: 54
  72. red leaf lettuce: 54
  73. green beans: 54
  74. perch: 53
  75. rainbow trout: 53
  76. sour cherries: 53
  77. pink salmon: 52
  78. pompano: 52
  79. kumquats: 52
  80. hubbard squash: 52
  81. carp: 51
  82. oranges: 51
  83. red currants: 51
  84. pomegranates: 51
  85. rhubarb: 51
  86. jalapeno peppers: 51
  87. winter squash: 51
  88. carrots: 51
  89. octopus: 50
  90. prunes: 50
  91. cantaloupe: 50
  92. water chestnuts: 50
  93. cauliflower: 50
  94. broccoli: 50
  95. brussels sprouts: 50
  96. burdock root : 50
  97. pumpkin: 50
  98. ginger: 49
  99. figs: 49
  100. sweet potato: 49
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, January 29, 2021 at 10:22 am | Edit
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Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 8:17 am | Edit
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Found on Facebook and enjoyed.

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 10:21 pm | Edit
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Feeling the time pressure here, so you you get a quick post today. I no longer remember how I happened upon this video, but the Mister Rogers' Neighborhood fans among you (including Heather, pictured below) and/or jazz fans might enjoy it even more than I did.

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at 11:20 am | Edit
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(Modified from something found on Facebook.)

Happy 2020 Thanksgiving to all!

Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, November 26, 2020 at 8:30 am | Edit
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My father was an engineer with the General Electric Company.  He worked in several places, including Erie, Pennsylvania and Lynn, Massachusetts, and  maybe some others I don't know because that was before I was born. Later in life he worked at Valley Forge and Philadelphia in Pennsylvania.  But for most of my childhood he was at company headquarters in Schenectady, New York.  He had a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, and a master's in physics, and I almost never knew what he did in his job.  The genealogist in me regrets that I was so incurious, but he couldn't have told me anyway, as much of his work was classified.  Once, many years later, when were visiting the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia (where in retirement he worked as a docent), he pointed to a photo in an exhibit on military airplanes and casually said, "That was one of my projects."

Dad didn't spend a lot of time on the road, but he did have "business trips" that took him around the country.  Again, I never knew what for—nor, as a child, was I aware of much besides the souvenirs he'd bring back with him.  It's hard to believe that he used to fly in prop planes, though I do remember him expressing his regret that the Schenectady Airport consigned itself to being a backwater of the Albany Airport when it chose not to make the runways long enough to accommodate jets.

By 1960, however, he was enjoying jet travel between here and California.  And I mean enjoying.  General Electric was not the kind of company to send engineers First Class, or even Business Class if they had had it back then.  But in those golden days of flying, Coach was a little different.  Here's what he wrote in his diary about one particular trip.

September 25, 1960

This morning I caught Eastern Airlines' 8:40 a.m. flight along with Renato Bobone from Albany to New York City and thence by Trans World Airlines' Boeing 707 jet to Los Angeles and a week in that city.  The flight, as is often the case in a jet, was rather uneventful.  We left New York at 11 a.m. with overcast weather and it was not long after we were on our way that dinner began.  It was interesting to note than TWA left a copy of Newsweek and Life on the table between each pair of seats for passengers’ reading.  A good idea.

Dinner started off with the usual two drinks.  Then a crabmeat cocktail with two glasses of white wine followed by dinner with two glasses of red wine or champagne.

Dinner was roast beef that I had trouble identifying.  I think it was roast tenderloin.  Anyway it was very good.  For dessert I ignored the calorific foods and had a bunch of grapes.  And coffee.

Not too long after this repast, we began flying over the mountains and I sat in the lounge to get some pictures.  I may have some fair ones.  The flight took us over the southern edge of the Grand Canyon, but haze may have prevented my pictures from being their best.  The desert was very interesting to watch.  It looks desolate, yet must contain much life.  I would like to be able to see it first hand and leisurely sometime.

We landed in Los Angeles about 12:20 Pacific Standard Time and we checked into the Hyatt House.  We rested a bit and then Renato and I took advantage of the Hyatt House swimming pool and the sunny day.  I also spent some time staring at the TV at the San Francisco - New York professional football game.  The Giants won 21-19.

(I confess my near-total ignorance of professional sports when I reveal that I laughed when I read that last line, since I assumed a San Francisco vs. New York game meant that somehow the Giants were playing the Giants.)

That really was the golden age of coach-class flying, with jet-speed travel, lots of room, and sumptious meals.  Not to mention at least six free drinks.  Plus, if his times were correct, I make the flight time from New York to Los Angeles at four and a half hours, at least an hour quicker than is standard today.

And yet it wasn't all sunshine and lollipops.  Here's what he wrote about the return flight.

I got on the plane about 10:00 and by after 10:30 the plane had not left.  Someone reported they were waiting for someone on a connecting flight, but the hostess said she didn't believe that was the real reason.  Eventually the agent came aboard and announced over the public address system, "All passengers please deplane immediately.  We have a bomb scare."  We all left right away with no excitement or panic.  We were locked in the waiting room while they removed the baggage and searched the plane.  They served jus coffee and pastry while we waited.

Eventually we were all interviewed by the FBI—the interview consisting of questions as to name, address, reason for trip, were we involved in a court action, had we reeived threats, might someone be playing a practical joke un us?  Then we identified our luggage, stood by while it was searched, and thence back to the plane.  We took off three hourse late.  The flight back was really uneventful, although as usual I got only about 2 hours' sleep.

We came to New York to find rather couldy skies and a moderate delay before we could land.  Since I had an 11 a.m. flight out of La Guardia [having landed at Idlewild], I was not anxious to see much in the way of delays.  We finally got off the plane at 10:15 but I did not get my bag until 10:30.  The cab driver said it was a 20 minute trip to La Guardia and he made it in 20 minutes.  I dashed to the Eastern Airlines counter and thence to the gate to find them just about to pull the stairs away from the plane.  I got aboard—but I was the last one to make it.

Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, November 24, 2020 at 9:30 am | Edit
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10-10-2020

I just think someone should take note of the date. It works in both America and Europe.

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, October 10, 2020 at 9:37 pm | Edit
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Even during COVID-tide our church celebrates the Feast of St. Francis with the annual Blessing of the Animals. We attended virtually, as it was again held in the sanctuary instead of outside, and last year all that fur and dander was Not Good. It was fun to see the pets from a distance, however.

Even more fun was what you'll hear if you go to this YouTube video of the service, which should be set to begin at 21:38. (Sorry I can't embed it here.) Soon you will hear what the priest spoke at the point of the service where he usually tells the congregation, "You may be seated."

This was also the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels, but I know Father Trey well enough to be certain he was not speaking to them.

Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, October 4, 2020 at 1:10 pm | Edit
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It is possible I was born in the wrong place and time.  Imagine a society where people go to a health spa for this:

The patients eat and drink cocoa and chocolate all the time while they rest, admire the scenery, gossip, and grow fatter every day.

Here's the story, from Ohio's New Castle News, February 5, 1907.

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 9:52 am | Edit
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I think America owes ISIS an apology. We were so self-righteous over their destruction of ancient monuments—sometimes more upset by that than by their destruction of people. Now we are doing it ourselves. If the history isn't as old as in the Middle East, it's the same abominable impulse.

That's as heavy as this post is going to get. On the lighter side, here is a word for our modern iconoclasts from Psalm 105, at least as interpreted by Sunday's church bulletin.

Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, August 13, 2020 at 6:53 am | Edit
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No doubt the Swiss National Day activities are somewhat muted this year, but when you are a venerable 729 years old, it's certainly reason to celebrate.

In honor of my favorite country-in-law, here are some Sporcle quizzes for your education and amusement.

Name the Swiss cantons by location

Name the Swiss cantons by date (but you can enter them in any order)

Basic facts about Switzerland

Official Swiss languages

Swiss geography

Swiss borders

Enjoy!

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, August 1, 2020 at 10:11 am | Edit
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altThe Alto Wore Tweed (Liturgical Mysteries #1) by Mark Schweizer (St. James Music Press, 2002)

This book is just for fun. If there is something of redeeming social value about it, I didn't notice, but I laughed longer and harder than I have over a book in a long time. Our choir director introduced me to the series—we get some of our anthems from St. James Press—and it was also recommended by other choir members.

The protagonist is an Episcopal church music director who is also a detective and a writer of "hard-boiled" detective fiction. I'm not a fan of that school of detective stories, but I know enough about it to get some of the jokes. And as a member of an Episcopal church choir, I can tell you that the author hits just close enough to the truth to be really funny. What someone without this background would think, I don't know.

I was warned that I'd have to not mind the "religious irreverence," but it's not irreverent toward God, and a bit of irreverence toward choir and church foibles is probably not a bad thing. Some of the situations and humor are "adult" (though I hate to use that term) but not graphic. I have a very low tolerance for such things and still enjoyed the book a lot, so I doubt anyone else would have a problem; I mention it merely as a grandchild warning to parents. More to the point, I don't think any of our grandchildren have enough experience as yet to appreciate the satire.

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, July 29, 2020 at 9:00 am | Edit
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