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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A lot of other subjects have been taking up my mind space, and my blog space, for a long time, so I was delighted when a friend shared this bit of mathematical fun with me. (22 minutes)

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, March 11, 2022 at 5:01 pm | Edit
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It's amazing how uplifting a little light and beauty can be when the world has gone mad. Take a few minutes and get 2022 off to a pleasant start with the latest two episodes of Chateau  Love.

The December 27 episode (21 minutes) features a private tour of the Christmas decorations at Château Gaillard Amboise (not to be confused with the Château Gaillard built by Richard the Lionheart). This castle is historical as well as beautiful, and I felt as if I were walking through a famous European museum.  Unfortunately, YouTube is not allowing me to embed this video, but you can watch it directly on YouTube here.

For New Year's Eve, the show is twice as long (41 minutes) but much more personal, including a flashback visit to Tuscany, with a guest appearance of Vivienne's sister Ashley. Visit a magical European Christmas market and accompany Vivienne and Simon as they shop, create, and decorate in preparation for Christmas at their own château. Best of all, Vivienne's amazing artistry shines in this episode. Christmas decorations from citrus slices. Stunning hand-painted bird plates. Amazing food, artistic table settings, and indescribably beautiful decorations gilding an already beautiful home.

I was swept right back to our own magical Easter visit, nearly 15 years ago, to Simon and Vivienne's previous French château.

Easter  2007

I hope you enjoy this delightful break from all the troubles of the world, and head into 2022 with a lighter heart.

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, January 3, 2022 at 5:11 am | Edit
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I like to cook. Really, I do. This happened overnight.

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, November 12, 2021 at 7:21 am | Edit
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My grandson persuaded me to take this personality type quiz because his own results matched so perfectly with his personality that he had his family rolling on the floor when he read it out loud.  My own results (INFJ-T) were less spectacular: right on in places, but far enough off in others to make me wonder if it's really much better than a horoscope.  But some of the questions were hard to answer, so I think I'll play with it and see if I can do better.

Speaking of better, my grandson then suggested I try Brandon Sanderson's Knights Radiant Order Quiz.  My results from this one were much more impressive.

I am a Truthwatcher

If you click on this link and scroll down a bit, you'll see the characteristics of a Truthwatcher, which as far as I'm concerned are pretty accurate.  For example,

These make their opinions known loudly and forcefully, particularly if they think someone in power is abusing that power or lying about fundamental truths. ... They generally prefer to write their opinions rather than speak them.

Truthwatcher was my grandson's second guess as to what my results would be.  His first was Edgedancer.

Truthwatcher and Edgedancer were the top two in my results, and pretty close at that. Considering that I also see myself as more of a mixture of Truthwatcher and Edgedancer, I think his Perspicacity rating is pretty good.

Now I just have to read the books.

Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, October 21, 2021 at 7:33 am | Edit
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Point 1: What is the good of euphemisms? They enable us to express something without resorting to offensive words (whatever the offense may be). That's better for the ears and hearts of the listeners, certainly. But does it do anything for the speakers? If I say "darn" instead of "damn," what do I gain? Is the attitude of my heart any better for it? I think that's a good question to ponder.

Point 2: As I've said many times, of presidents from both parties: our chief executive deserves respectful treatment by virtue of the office he holds—not to mention as a human being. Chanting "F--- Joe Biden" like a football cheer is puerile at best. Moreover, it's probably worse than useless, venting people's frustrations without driving them to work toward changing the policies they hate. If I were President Biden, I would hear those chants and think, "As long as they're shouting and not actively working for my opponents, I'm okay with that."

That said, I have to admit that I find the whole "Let's Go, Brandon!" story hilarious. And maybe even a little useful.

Good humor can be an effective antidote to hate, and it's hard to say, "Let's Go, Brandon!" without smiling.

Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, October 10, 2021 at 9:21 am | Edit
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Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

I ran into this quote, called Hanlon's Razor, in an episode of the detective series New Tricks. It was new to me: as far as I can remember I'd never heard it before. However, it is sufficiently like one of my own favorite sayings that either (1) I heard it somewhere and filed it away subconsciously, or (2) it's so obvious that there must be dozens of variations on the same theme, or (3) I'm just brilliant.

Wikipedia attributes this form to Robert J. Hanlon, from about 1980, though, as I suspected, the idea's been around a long time. If I did pick up the idea subconsiously, I suspect it would have come from the Robert A. Heinlein story referenced in that article.

Here is one of my variations on the idea:

Most so-called conspiracies can be more readily explained by simple human stupidity.

Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, September 30, 2021 at 6:43 am | Edit
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It would make a somewhat confusing hand-me-down, but I think this is a great t-shirt. You can see where a black cloth marker has been used for updates.

Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, September 9, 2021 at 6:05 am | Edit
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Many a true word hath been spoken in jest.

Perfectly Good Cookie Dough Ruined By Putting It in Oven

As a friend of ours expressed, "I thought the [Babylon] Bee was satire."

Three generations of raw cookie dough fans here!

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, August 23, 2021 at 7:06 am | Edit
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Did you know that landlocked Switzerland has a navy? Or at least they did in World War II; I saw some of their boats in a museum. Here's a short Wikipedia article about what they have now. (Do not, for the sake of not having to see things you can't unsee, google "Swiss Navy," which is apparently a brand name of something you'd rather not know about.)

The much more pleasant purpose of this post is to alert you to other maritime news: apparently Switzerland also has pirates!

Armed forces, indeed.

Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 at 10:19 am | Edit
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Despite My Rocky Relationship with Penzeys Spices, I hold no grudge against the Penzey's mugs I've acquired over the years.

Until one turned out to be an IED, that is. (Click to enlarge.)

It had given me no trouble whatsoever for years.  Then one day I noticed the cup seemed exceptionally hot when I took it from the microwave.  That should have been a clue.  The next time I tried to warm up my tea was more exciting: Pieces of the cup exploded off with loud bangs, revealing rusty metal underneath.

The odd thing is, there had been no previous evidence of a problem.  No worn spots, no places that looked thin. And who knew there was metal around the rim of the mug?

You never know what might be lurking in your cupboard.

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, July 16, 2021 at 9:01 am | Edit
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