Forget Area 51, the NSA's invasive civilian spying, and anything else you may think the U.S. government has tried to keep up its sleeves.  Edward Snowden has nothing on me.  I will now reveal to you the government's greatest secret:

The United States Post Office has discovered instantaneous transport!

Here at Lift Up Your Hearts! we have obtained a copy of the official government record of a small package sent between the United States and Switzerland.  (Not to CERN, but to what our sources indicate may be the home laboratory of one of its top up-and-coming scientists.)


There it is, ladies and gentlemen:  the Secret of the Century is out.  And you thought only quantum particles could be in two places at the same time.

Next up for our intrepid investigative reporters?  Digging into the dirty secret of why it still takes four days to travel the 250 miles from Altamonte Springs to Miami.

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 3:17 pm | Edit
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"Great goddess Athena, great god Apollo, we ask that you impart wisdom in these proceedings today," Jennifer Zarpentine, a Wiccan priestess, prayed at the town board meeting of Greece, New York, in April 2008.

"Help the board to make the right, informed decisions that will benefit the greater good of this community. This we ask of you." As board members contin­ued to bow their heads in prayer, several other meeting attendees responded with the pagan version of amen, "So mote it be."

Thus begins a Christianity Today editorial from a couple of months ago (subtitled "Why we pray before public meetings—and let pagans do the same").  It's a serious article, which is no doubt why the location of this town meeting passes without further comment.  To the writer, I suppose, it might as well have been Chili, or Brighton, or any of the other suburbs of Rochester, New York.  Being from that part of the state, however, and under no compulsion to be serious, my own first reaction was that nothing could be more appropriate in Greece than prayers to Athena and Apollo.

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, September 15, 2014 at 8:02 pm | Edit
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Nothing profound today, just something to make you smile.  She's 150% of my age.

Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, August 17, 2014 at 2:48 pm | Edit
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From a Facebook friend, a facinating article on the schwa, which leads to this video on English as a stress-timed language.  They mention Spanish and French as syllable-timed.  I wonder about other languages, such as German and Swiss German, but do not have time at the moment to investigate.  And I thought we were just being lazy.

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 at 7:37 am | Edit
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Fifty years makes no difference in the susceptibility to parody of elementary mathematics education in America.

Elementary school mathematics, 1964:

Elementary school mathematics, 2014:

My apologies:  I can't get the embedding to work on this Stephen Colbert video, but you can click on the link above.

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, April 18, 2014 at 8:49 am | Edit
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Upper management from the engineer's point of view.  (H/T Jon)

Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 at 10:12 pm | Edit
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From Thursday's Orlando Sentinel.


Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, March 28, 2014 at 3:33 pm | Edit
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Funny—with so much of the mainstream now celebrating Pi Day, I find myself less inclined to do so.  But for the sake of our grandson, with whom a phone conversation is more likely to consist of recitations of pi to 36 digits, or of whether a given number is prime or composite, than it is of  "what did you do today?" I will reprise the Pi Day video I posted in 2011.  Enjoy!

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, March 14, 2014 at 7:04 am | Edit
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I am so not ready to go back on Daylight Saving Time.  The only good part about changing the clocks is the extra hour of sleep, and that only happens in the fall.  This, however, makes the medicine go down a little easier.  (Thanks, Tim!)  (My European audience can enjoy it in three weeks.)

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 5:48 pm | Edit
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Although we missed our own Shrove Tuesday pancake dinner and burning-of-the-palms this year, I love this traditional prelude to Lent.  After we left Norwood, Massachusetts, our friend Alan became vicar of a small church there.  He has since written a book, and more to the point, produced this homage to Shrove Tuesday pancake dinners, inspired by Robert W. Service's The Shooting of Dan McGrew.  As a fan of all three (Service, Alan, and Shrove Tuesday pancakes), I had to reproduce it here (with permission).

The kitchen crew was whippin’ it up
at the Redeemer pancake dinner.
The band that was playin’ the Bluegrass tunes
was pickin’ ‘em out like a winner.
There at the back was a man in black,
who was speakin’ of Israel;
And by his side was the love of his life,
the lady that's known as Gail.

The cause of all of this merriment
was the upcoming purple season;
And so the crowd was chewin’ the fat,
as if they needed a reason.
The following day would bring ashes and grief,
forty days of a somber tone.
But tonight they wore beads and sated their needs
by carvin’ the ham to the bone.
The vicar was telling the lamest of jokes,
as the vicar is wont to do.
They say that the Anglicans know how to drink,
and they surely know how to eat too.

These are the simple facts of the case,
and I guess I ought to know.
There was food and fun, and everyone smiled,
I saw as I watched them go.
There’s a time for Lent and a time to repent,
but the season goes down so much better,
If you start it off by gorging yourself
on homemade pancakes and butter.

When he was young, my father had a two-mile walk to work, and used the time to memorize long poems, including Dan McGrew and another Service work, The Cremation of Sam McGee.  Later, upon request, he would recite them to his children and grandchildren.  That pleasure cemented my love of the poems, and it came flooding back when I read Alan's verse.  Thank you, Alan and Vivien!

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, March 7, 2014 at 6:49 am | Edit
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Thanks, Jon, for finding this.  From where I sit (the office next door) this is enough like Porter's frequent phone meetings to have me (almost) rolling on the floor laughing.  (No, I will not say ROFL.)

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, February 10, 2014 at 11:48 am | Edit
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From, one of the best 404 File Not Found errors I've come across.


Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 8:10 pm | Edit
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Wouldn't all Kickstarter projects like to have funded $906,490 of a $50,000 goal?  And with 17 days left in the drive?  Well, not all Kickstarter projects involve both smart phones and paper airplanes!

A $40 pledge gets you the basic package.  No wonder they have so many backers; I can imagine that was many a geek's Christmas present.  (H/T Stephan)

Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 3:32 pm | Edit
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Although it's still warm in Florida, the first snow has fallen for much of our family, so I'd better post this before no one is thinking of autumn fun anymore.  I don't know if this sign was intentional or not, but when our friend RDH posted it on Facebook, I had to share it further.  I'm pretty sure it was not an attempt to give bilingual directions to the crop.


Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, November 23, 2013 at 11:04 am | Edit
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Every kid knows how wonderful it is to bounce on the bed.

But all too soon we get older and heavier and our parents ban the activity before (or immediately after) we destroy the bed.

A YMCA outside of Boston has taken pity on our inner three-year-olds and installed a jumping pillow.

I'm certain the world would be a saner and happier place if we all had access to jumping pillows. Not to mention healthier—what a fun form of exercise!

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at 7:51 am | Edit
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