WEDNESDAY READER | August 3

Greetings Everyone – August just snuck up on us.  Crazy how fast the summer is passing.  Hope you’re getting some quality grill time and dipping your toes in some water somewhere and often.  Presenting the new ‘Wednesday Reader.  Enjoy!  Have the best day.

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POP QUIZ

  1. THE HOLLOW CELLS IN A HONEYCOMB HAVE WHAT GEOMETRIC SHAPE?
    a) Circle
    b) Hexagon
    c) Pentagon
    d) Triangle
  2. THE PLATYPUS IS NATIVE TO WHAT COUNTRY?
    a) Australia
    b) Brazil
    c) India
    d) United States
  3. IN EXCHANGE FOR PARDONS FOR CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES, THE PIRATE JEAN LAFITTE JOINED HIS FORCES WITH GEN. ANDREW JACKSON’S TO DEFEND NEW ORLEANS DURING WHAT ARMED CONFLICT?
    a) U.S. Civil  War
    b) French & Indian War
    c) Spanish-American War
    d) War of 1812
  4. WHICH COUNTRY HAS THE MOST INTERNATIONAL LAND BORDERS?
    a) Brazil
    b) China
    c) India
    d) Russia

~ Leslie Elman copyright 2018

QUICK QUESTION

IF YOU COULD BE ANY ANIMAL, WHAT WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?

POP QUIZ ANSWERS

  1.  b) Hexagon
  2.  a) Australia
  3.  d) War of 1812
  4.  b) China has 16 International borders: Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Kazakhstan, North Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan & Vietnam.  Also Hong Kong and Macau.
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COUNT TO A TRILLION

a million million
1,000,000,000,000

From those super bright people who study these sorts of things:
“Bet you can’t, but won’t take your money because here is why you can’t.  You can count to about 170 in a minute – even 200.  An hour will therefore produce 12,000; a day 288,000; and a year, or 365 days (you may rest a day every 4 years), 105,120,000.  Even if Adam had started counting the day he was born, he would not yet be up to a trillion.  For it would take 9,512 years, 34 days, 5 hours, and 20 minutes to count to a trillion at the above rate.”

LIVE SO THAT WHEN YOUR CHILDREN THINK OF FAIRNESS, CARING AND INTEGRITY, THEY THINK OF YOU.

(( Starve the Landfills.  Recycle.))

RIDDLE ME THIS

WHAT BUILDING HAS THE MOST STORIES?

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CRANBERRY VINAIGRETTE

This dressing is as gorgeous as it is outstanding.  It’s at perfection when drizzled over a bed of butter lettuce, chopped, toasted walnuts, Bleu cheese crumbles and a tiny sprinkling of  dried cranberries. 

2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup white vinegar
5 TBSP Cranberry concentrate (not cocktail) – found in the freezer section of most grocery stores.
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp dry mustard powder
1 tsp fresh cracked pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together vigorously.  Store in airtight container in the ‘fridge.

~ Hippie Cowboy Recipe Box

RIDDLE ANSWER

A Library

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MEMORY CLIMB

“I used to be interesting.”

I got too used to saying that.  It’s part of the reason we moved to the wild.  The memory of who I was — camping under the stars, rappelling down cliff sides, hiking into vast nothingness — was still too clear to ignore.  It hadn’t drifted into the misty haze of happenings long past — you know, the place where one can’t be sure whether one experienced adventures personally or just read the adventures, such as snorting Pixy Stix or toilet papering your crush’s backyard.  No, the memories were clear, and they were calling me.

Funny thing about getting older, your memories may stand the test of time, but your motivation?  Yeah, not so much.

This past week, I was in the Virginia mountains, surprising my dad for his birthday.  We sneaked in while he was in the bathroom and were sitting on the couch in the hotel suite eating popcorn, when he returned.  He jumped out of his skin and then laughed so hard tears squirted out of his eyes.  But his jump was the smallest of the trip.

The resort where we were staying is meant for active families, with mountain biking, as water park, river tubing, golf, zip lines and much more.  But there was only thing on my must-do list: rappelling down the highest mountain peak’s cliff side.

I begged my little brother to go with me.

We filled out the paperwork, signed our lives away and waited for the first of many chairlift rides to get up to the highest peak.  In line for the lift, there was a clear view of a free-fall drop activity.  The resort had erected a climbing wall with a platform at the summit.  From there, the presumably suicidal would hook their harnesses to a bungee and jump.

I watched in awe as kids flung themselves off the platform and trusted that the bungee would gently deliver them to the large mattress below.  The adults, however, seemed directionally challenged.  They would move their bodies as if they were about to jump forward into the air but, miraculously, would wind up going 5 feet backward, their butts landing hard on the platform.  It was as if a force was pushing them back and screaming, Not today, old man!  You want to live!”

Clearly the adults wanted to jump.  They thought they could jump.

They had climbed up a huge wall in order to do so.  But there they stood, or more accurately, crashed down onto their butts, trembling in fear.  Some cried as the kids waiting line behind them chanted, “Jump!  Jump! Jump!”

The image seared into my mind as the chairlifts carried my poor breakable body to the top of the mountain.

“I used to be interesting,” I found myself saying to the 21-year old who was explaining how to abseil.  “I used to do this.”

“That’s cool,” he replied.  “Most old people get here, freak out and wish they had done it in their youth because they’re too freaked out to do it now.”

I asked him why he thought older adults like me have a harder time.

“Brittle bones?” he replied.

The instructor explained how I was supposed to hold on to the rope by hip and just lean back.

“Just lean back,” I repeated, “over the cliff.”

“And just sit on the air like Wile E. Coyote before he plummets to his death.”

My face must have blanched.  “I thought you said you did this before,” he said.  I told him I had.   A ton.  But that was nearly two decades ago.

“Oh, ” he said.  “Then don’t do it.  You were smart and had adventures when you were young and had the nerve.  Most people who give up now will never get to say they’ve done it.  I’ll take your harness off.”

I thought of those kids chanting “Jump!” and I flung myself off the mountain.  My butt didn’t hit anything but air.

The rest of me didn’t get so lucky.

My arms, legs and shoulders are covered with scrapes and bruises from when the rope flung my body back into the cliff after I spitefully jumped off.

Small price to pay for the taste of an old self.

~ Katiedid Langrock archives, copyright 2018 Creators

Fascinating Stuff

  • Nintendo was founded in Kyoto in 1889 mainly as a maker of playing cards hand printed on mulberry bark.  Like much of the world at that time, people in Japan had a taste for card games and gambling.  When Japan prohibited the import of European and American playing cards, Nintendo filled consumer demand with myriad designs, including the first plastic-coated cards in Japan.  Nearly 100 years later, Nintendo saw the future in electronic games, Donkey Kong became the king of the arcade, and the rest, as they say, is history.
  • Honorificabilitudinitatibus, meaning “capable of being honorable,” is the longest word in the works of William Shakespeare.  It’s spoken (not without difficulty) by Costard, a not-too-intelligent character in “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” and was Shakespeare’s way of mocking pompous people who use long, complicated words because they think it makes them sound more intelligent.  Shakespeare didn’t coin the word, however.  It derives from Latin and was in use hundreds of years before he put it into Costard’s mouth.
  • William Sydney Porter, better known as O. Henry, was a masterful writer of short stories with a twist.  Like “The Ransom of Red Chief,” about kidnappers who abscond with a child so horrible and unruly they offer to pay the kid’s parents to take him back.  While living in Austin, Texas, in 1895, Porter bought a failing magazine called “The Iconoclast,” revamped it and renamed it “THE ROLLING STONE.”  As publisher, editor and chief contributor, he filled the magazine with satirical articles and cartoons, but no album reviews.
  • In 1968, a thousand athletes from 26 U.S. states and Canada gathered at Soldier Field, Chicago for the first Special Olympic Games, brainchild of Special Olympics founder, Eunice Kennedy Shriver in cooperation with the Chicago Park District and Anne Burke (now a justice on the Illinois Supreme Court).  Today, some 5.3 million athletes from more than 170 countries participate in the Special Olympics.

~ Leslie Elman archives, Trivia Bits trademark

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