Category Archives: Did you know?

When the year was only 282 days

Did you know?

Along with Netflix binge-watching, I am reading a lot. Here’s something I read that surprised and interested me.

There was a problem with the calendar in eighteenth century Britain since Britain and its possessions, including the American colonies, still used the old Julian calendar begun by Julius Caesar in 46 BC. Meanwhile, Europeans were using the newer Gregorian calendar introduced in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII.

The problem with the Julian calendar was that it had an error built into it, resulting in a miscalculation of the solar year by eleven minutes. Not a critical error at the time, but it did result in a 1-day error every 128 years. Still not a critical error, but over two thousand years, Spring on the calendar was moving further and further away from the actual Spring equinox, thereby completely messing up the seasons.

That’s just for starters. Imagine the mess with legal, contractual, and other business matters if the parties were using different calendars.

Finally, pursuant to the British Calendar Act of 1751, Britain and its colonies made the Gregorian Correction in 1752. The Act directed that the day following Wednesday, September 2, would be Thursday, September 14, 1752. The Act also moved New Year’s Day from March 25 to January 1, shortening the year 1751 to only 282 days.

There is a myth that there was rioting over the lost 11 days. Imagine that happening in today’s world—mortgage and car payments are due but you’re missing 11 days of pay. Oh, dear. 

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!

Photography tips

Did you know?

For those wanting to improve their photography, here are my Top 20 photography tips gleaned from 52 years of experience.

  1. Film is better than digital
  2. Digital is better than film.
  3. Black & white is better than color.
  4. Color is better than black & white.
  5. DSLRs are the best cameras.
  6. Point & Shoot are the best cameras.
  7. Smart phones are the best cameras.
  8. Mirrorless are the best cameras.
  9. Buy one of each camera type just to make sure you have the best camera.
  10. One zoom lens is better than 3, 4 or 5 prime lenses.
  11. One prime lens is better than any zoom lens.
  12. The more expensive a camera is, the better will be the images.
  13. The bigger and more expensive a lens is, the better will be the images.
  14. White lenses are better than black lenses.
  15. Black lenses are better than white lenses.
  16. It’s better to shoot RAW than JPG (and tell everyone you only shoot RAW).
  17. It’s better to shoot JPG than RAW (and don’t tell anyone you do).
  18. All pictures need post-processing (and you must use Photoshop).
  19. If you learn your camera’s controls and use them, you’ll never have to post-process pictures.
  20. Always upgrade to the most recent camera model (unless you’re married; then ask permission).

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!

One of my favorite garden visitors

Did you know?

I love it when a mantis visits my garden.

Mantis

Mantises are an order of insects containing over 2,400 species in about 430 genera in 15 families, distributed worldwide in temperate and tropical habitats. They have triangular heads with bulging eyes supported on flexible necks, elongated bodies, may or may not have wings, but all have greatly enlarged forelegs that are adapted for catching and gripping prey. Their upright posture with forearms folded has led to the common name “praying mantis.”

The closest relatives of mantises are the termites and cockroaches. Mantises are sometimes confused with stick insects, other elongated insects such as grasshoppers, or other unrelated insects with raptorial forelegs such as mantisflies.

Mantises are mostly ambush predators, but a few ground-dwelling species actively pursue their prey. They live for about a year. Females sometimes practice sexual cannibalism, eating their mates after copulation, meaning that they might not live as long as females.

Mantises were considered to have supernatural powers by early civilizations, including Ancient Greece, Ancient Egypt, and Assyria. A cultural trope popular in cartoons imagines the female mantis as a femme fatale.

Mantises are among the insects most commonly kept as pets.

If you haven’t seen a mantis devouring a murder hornet, check out this video:

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!

The time is now!

Did you know?

From one of my daily news feeds.

“Though Californians will still rely on the U.S. Postal Service to receive a blank ballot, the vast majority can bypass the unpredictability of the USPS and the risk of in-person voting by using a ballot drop-off box at any vote center in their county. For those who must mail a ballot, this year the three-day grace period has been extended to 17 days after the election.

Is this system perfect? Of course not — no system is. In the March primary, more than 100,000, or 1.5%, of the 7 million mail ballots cast were disqualified for various reasons, though by far the most common problem was that the ballots either were postmarked after election day or didn’t arrive at election headquarters within the grace period.”

I have been voting for 44 years and in seven states. After standing in line for eight hours to vote in November 1980, I switched to absentee ballots and, since May 1993 here in San Diego, permanent mail voter. All of the states allowed for mail and absentee ballots to be dropped off at polling locations, and all of them had a one- or two-day grace period for receiving absentee, mail, and overseas ballots.

Secretaries of State have 30 days to certify the results of their elections, and then another 30 days to transmit those results to Congress. Congress then certifies the results and transmits them to the Electors. Considering that Congress is on Thanksgiving and Christmas break, the earliest they can get the election results is January 3 of the year following the election.

Call your Registrar of Voters TODAY to find out the options to ensure that your vote gets counted this year. The time is now!

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!

Grateful Dead fans should love this!

Did you know?

Seems like 2020 has brought us some really weird creatures, such as murder hornets.

Today I discovered Uraba lugens, the “mad hatterpillar.”

mad hatterpillar

Indigenous to Australia’s eucalyptus forests, it stacks its molted heads atop each other, creating a morbid headgear that servers as diversion when predators come a-callin’.

Fans of Grateful Dead should love this little one.

I Like Liker

I was a late adopter to Facebook, and as much as I like Facebook, I don’t like Mark Zuckerberg and his and Facebook’s political persuasions.

I had been waiting for something similar to come along, and I’m willing to give Liker a try as an early adopter.

I have been using Liker since June 10. I spent the first 24 hours exploring and made a couple of posts and comments. After 5 days, I find myself going to Liker before going to Facebook. Then, after I visit Facebook, I find myself going back to Liker. I’m pretty sure that means that I like Liker.

Come join me and those of us already at Liker!

Liker

When the side effects are awesome!

Did you know?

This post is a follow up to my post about what appears to be my final episode of biting my fingernails. Only took a little over 65 years. See my first post here: Another 48 margaritas and I should  be good to go

I got a pain relief shot in the butt at Urgent Care on April 19. Oh the irony of getting a painful injection in the butt in order to relieve pain elsewhere. Is this where the expression pain in the butt came from?

Nonetheless….

I also got a prescription for a pain-relief drug, Cephalexin, which is generic for Keflex. The prescription was for 28 pills, one ever six hours until used up… so seven days. I took the first pill on April 20 at noon.

Amazing things happened, none of which were expected to happen.

  1. I have been a polyphasic sleeper all my life — 65 years — never sleeping for more than four hours, and that was only in college when I was passed out drunk. I’m still a polyphasic sleeper, but since April 20 I have had several periods of sleep lasting from five to eight hours.
  2. I had never had a dream because I never reached R.E.M. sleep. That changed on April 20. I probably have had 65 dreams since then. Most of them would be considered nightmares by normal people, but can Stephen King fans be called normal? As Tears for Fears sang in Mad World, “The dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had.”
  3. For the past twenty or so years, I have had a hacking cough… 24/7. It was the worst immediately upon lying down and immediately after getting up. A hacking cough in today’s COVID-19 world can be problematic out in public. Fortunately, I was able to control it by taking Guafenesin (generic for Mucinex), but it took about an hour for the full effects to kick in. That changed on April 20. After the very first Cephalexin pill, no 24/7 hacking cough. Still to this day, over a month later.
  4. For the past five or so years, I have not been able to breathe through my nose. I went to my regular doctor as well as an allergist and and ENT. The only thing anyone said was the ENT. She stuck a camera through my nose and down into my throat. The only thing she found was a deviated septum (crooked nose). She asked me when I broke my nose but to the best of my knowledge, I never did. She wants to do a CT scan of my upper respiratory system and then schedule surgery to correct my crooked nose. That all changed on April 20. After the very first Cephalexin pill, I was back to breathing through my nose. Still to this day, over a month later.

I have been in dozens of medical research studies throughout my life, so I know that not every side effect reported during studies gets listed as side effects. The number of people reporting a side effect has to be statistically significant for the number of people in the study. So if there are 100 people in the study, and only one person reports a specific side effect, the researchers won’t list it, instead chalking it up to something the research subject forgot to tell us.

In some cases, when the side effect is very pronounced and widely distributed, new research studies are done to see if the side effect can be made useful. Rogaine comes immediately to mind. Rogaine is a brand name for minoxidil, which originally was being studied for hypertension. Unexpected male hair growth was a statistically significant side effect, leading to further research studies and — bam! — Rogaine!

I talked to both my doctor and the ENT. Neither of them believed that there was a cause and effect from the Cephalexin. Continued research on my part found that Cephalexin also is used for upper respiratory illnesses. It’s only good for bacteria, though, not viruses like the flu and COVID-19.

With that knowledge, I wondered if I have had an upper respiratory bacterial infection for the last twenty years.

I called the Urgent Care doctor to ask him about the side effects since he was the one who prescribed Cephalexin. He was amazed but also thought that there wasn’t a cause and effect.

Oh, well.

If my cough and breathing difficulties ever come back, I shall bite my fingernails until they bleed, down to the quick, and then stick them in a bucket of dirty water until they get infected. Then I shall go get another prescription for Cephalexin….

Are you at risk?

Did you know?

I started self-isolation on March 14, before about 45 states thought it might be a good thing to do.

I did it because I love research and history, so I have been following COVID-19 since the early days in China last year.

I knew that with my underlying health issues (age, high blood pressure, etc.), I was in several high-risk categories.

Avi Schiff, the 17-year-old guy in Seattle who has created the Coronavirus Dashboard, has added a SURVIVAL RATE CALCULATOR to the Dashboard.

Using Microsoft Excel and statistics from Johns Hopkins, the Dashboard, and Worldometers, I had calculated my risk of dying from
COVID-19 if I contracted it to be about 75%.

The SURVIVAL RATE CALCULATOR puts me at 81.88%.

COVID-19 Survival Rate

SURVIVAL RATE CALCULATOR is at https://ncov2019.live/calculator

Coronavirus Dashboard: Coronavirus Dashboard

Worldometer: Worldometer

Johns Hopkins: Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center

Did You Know?—Spirals in plants

Did you know?

Fibonacci Numbers
1 – 1 – 2 – 3 – 5 – 8 – 13 – 21 – 34 – 55 – 89 – 144 ….

One of the cool things about spirals based on Fibonacci numbers (i.e., the golden spiral) is that in many plants, one can see both clockwise spirals and counterclockwise spirals.

The number of spirals in each direction in a mature plant almost always are consecutive Fibonacci numbers.

In the following picture of a mammillaria seen at the Los Angeles County Arboretum on February 13, 2020, there are 34 clockwise spirals and 21 counterclockwise spirals.

Mammillaria at the Los Angeles County Arboretum

I just found out that I died in 1998!

Did you know?

Once a year I do a little genealogical research to see if I can find additional family medical history through newspaper obituaries.

Yesterday was the day for 2019.

I didn’t find out any new medical information.

However, one of the links led me to one of those sites that has everything about everyone, and you can see it all, as long as you’re willing to shell out some serious bucks. Since I already know everything about myself, I didn’t shell out any bucks.

However, there was lots of “negative information” about me, and some of it was free.

I found out that I have five bankruptcies. Well, I can tell you that I have, indeed, been involved with five bankruptcies, two in Texas, one in Michigan, and two in California. In all five, I was the “attorney of record.” I wasn’t actually the attorney because I don’t have a law degree, and the only bars I have passed are those that don’t serve margaritas. Courts don’t expect anyone other than attorneys to file bankruptcy documents, so there usually is no place on the filing forms for anyone other than petitioner and attorney of record. Thus, when I created and filed bankruptcy documents, I always entered my name as “attorney of record” and typed in below, “not an attorney.”

Bankruptcy laws for each state are different but are very explicit, mainly because there can be a lot of money involved. To the best of my knowledge, none of the 50 states require that one actually be a bankruptcy attorney, or even an attorney, to file the documents for a bankruptcy. Those laws allow you to file documents for your own bankruptcy!

The caveat is that you have to know and understand the bankruptcy laws. But if you can read and comprehend very explicit laws, you can file bankruptcy for yourself. Another caveat, though, is that the fewer assets and debts you have, the easier the bankruptcy. If you have your main home, a summer home, a vacation home, a ski home, a fishing home, etc., that’s going to be a difficult bankruptcy because you probably can sell a few of those homes to pay off your debts, and that’s usually what the bankruptcy judge will order. It might not pay off all your debts, but the bankruptcy judge doesn’t want to see a lot of assets if you’re filing for bankruptcy. Same with multiple cars. No, except in very rare circumstances.

In my case, law always has been one of my interests/hobbies. At one point I wanted to be an attorney. Then I found out how much addition schooling beyond college would be required. No. That, though, didn’t stop me from studying law on my own time, especially since, being self-employed for most of my 53 years in business, I needed legal documents for all the companies I have founded, for my Clients in some cases (home inspections come immediately to mind), etc. For all my companies, I created the documents and then simply passed them by an attorney in whatever state I was in for his approval for that state. An attorney simply reading and commenting takes less time (and time is money!) than an attorney meeting with you for consultation, drafting documents, meeting with you again, revamping documents…. on and on and on. One’s startup company could be bankrupted by the attorney before it ever got going!

Apparently, everything about everyone services provide for corrections if you’re interested in doing that. If I was 30, not self-employed, and climbing up the corporate ladder, I probably would have corrected all the misinformation I found. Might even have shelled out some big bucks to see what private misinformation they might have had, and corrected that which was wrong.

Being somewhat anal (somewhat?!!!), I have records of every place I have ever lived, every mailing address I have ever used, every phone number I have ever had; and I know the names of my roommates and relatives. I found phone numbers that never belonged to me…. addresses where I never lived…. people whom I have never known….

The funniest (perhaps) item was my incarceration. Twice! Once I knew about. I spent the night in jail for peeing in public. There was (probably still is) a tradition at Texas A&M University (for guys only) that when one receives one’s senior ring (rings and controlled by the university, one of less than 10 which do that. No ordering from Zales!), one does not immediately put it on. Instead, one pockets it and heads to one of the bars at North Gate. There one orders a pitcher of beer, drops one’s senior ring in the pitcher, proceeds to drink the whole pitcher by oneself, and catches one’s ring in one’s mouth with that last swallow out of the pitcher. Only then does one put the ring on one’s finger.

Well, remember that I said this was guys only? That’s because the tradition continues outside in Bottlecap Alley. The restrooms on Aggie Ring Day have long lines, resulting in many guys going out to Bottlecap Alley to relieve themselves. Guess who else knows about this tradition? Yep. The coppers. And they have no problem meeting their annual arrest quota on Aggie Ring Day.

I didn’t get arrested on my Aggie Ring Day. Instead, it was about 15 years later when I had six employees all getting their Aggie rings at the same time. Being the good employer that I was, I took all six of them over to North Gate and bought them their pitchers of beer at the Dixie Chicken. Of course, I could not let them drink alone, so I got a pitcher for myself and, like reaffirming wedding vows 25 or 50 years later, I dropped my Aggie ring in my pitcher and had fun with the guys. Later, we all went out to Bottlecap Alley to do our business. Two of us got arrested for peeing in public. Oh, well. I do believe that at least 25% of Aggie male graduates have an arrest record….

Olivia the black & white catMy other incarceration I did not know about. I spent 1981 to 1997 in prison in Missouri! I wonder who was impersonating me at all my businesses while I was in a Missouri prison. Even funnier is that I died in 1998, shortly after getting out of prison. Maybe I have nine lives like Little Queen Olivia?

Anyway, this was a great learning experience for confirming that anything on the Internet is there forever, good or bad, you or your doppelganger.

Thus, my recommendation for anyone just entering the work force or climbing up that corporate ladder is to do two things:

  1. Check your credit rating once a year. There are three credit reporting agencies: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. By federal law, each one has to provide your credit report to you once each year, but you have to request it. They won’t just send it to you. Because of that, you actually can monitor your credit report every four months simply by requesting your credit report from a different agency every four months, like so:
    Experian – January 2020
    TransUnion – May 2020
    Equifax – September 2020
    Experian – January 2021
    TransUnion – May 2021
    Equifax – September 2021
    Etc.
  2. Check one of those everything about everyone sites once a year just to make sure that nothing weird shows up…. and just in case you decide to change jobs and the new company looks up your information on one of those sites. That could be awkward, and the company might not even let you know why they didn’t hire you. They simply didn’t hire you based on the (wrong) information available.

If my home inspection clients from 2001-2016 had known that I died in 1998, they never would have let me inspect their homes!

Russel grave headstone