Sunday, May 17, 2015

Most mispronounced words

What are the most mispronounced words? According to Mojo, here they are:
10 - Bruschetta
9 - Mischievous
8 - Foliage
7 - February
6 - Nuclear
5 - Mauve
4 - Ask
3 - Supposedly
2 - Espresso
1 - Quinoa

Friday, May 15, 2015

Dodgeball with One Direction

We have been learning about how sports are good, and I think this Dodgeball competition video shows us how fun (or funny) these types of sports competitions can be.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

I have a new magic trick!

"Choose which hand has the hidden treasure!" says the Grandkid.

"Yes, I have a new magic trick to try on you."

Snuggled in a grandma's love

"I've got the best seat in the house!" reports the Grandkid.
"See, I'm being snuggled in Grandma's love!"

Monday, May 11, 2015

Photograph by Ed Sheeran

I LOVED the song "Thinking Outloud" by Ed Sheeran, and have been exploring some of his other music. I stumbled on another video of his, "Photograph," where he shares snapshots of his life while he sings.
He begins as a baby, then advances in segments of time until he is finally singing before thousands of people. The video helped me see how his focused interest of art, music, and creativity began at an early age and he nourished it and allowed it to grow. By the end of the video, you see his journey turned into something extraordinary.

I believe that part of a parent's job, and even a grandparent's job, is to help their child find and blossom into the person they are born to be - helping them find their inner voice, meaning, and even purpose, then allow them space, time, and encouragement, to move in that path.  

I was rather moved by this video and the life story Ed Sheeran told in this music. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

New Reading Level

"Gramz, I've moved on from books about trains to accelerated sales techniques," reports the grandkid.

I think Grandpa Geo would be proud.

A History of the World through Islamic Eyes

Tamin Ansary, an Afghan/American author, speaker, taught a class this semester through Berkeley OSHER, to help us see history through different eyes than how many of us were taught. Mr. Ansary presented the ripple effects of history from an Islamic point of view.

The class was rather fascinating, and Mr. Ansary's ability to share stories as the way to better understand history beyond the European/Roman world center was rather captivating.

The book, "Destiny Disrupted, a History of the World Through Islamic Eyes," contains many of the stories and tales Mr. Ansary shared in class. Many of us learned history from a European centric point of view, so now partaking of history from an Islamic point of view was rather eye opening. It helped provide a foundation to help gain a small understanding of what is happening with Islam in our current day.

If you like history, or are interested in understanding current world events in the Middle World (or Middle East), I recommend this book.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Fracking (and quaking) in our boots

I know, I know....if you live in beautiful California, you have to expect a quake or two once in awhile. But on Wednesday, we had three in just the morning! They measured 3.2, 3.5, and 2.6. And just three days before this, we had another trio of earthquakes, too! That means we had 6 quakes in 3 days!
THIS is VERY unusual.  So what's going on?

Well, fracking is now the biggest culprit to helping create quakes, so is fracking triggering these quakes?

Here is a map of where CA has issued permits to allow acidization & fracking. The arrow points to the location of these 6 quakes, which is in the middle of where acidization & fracking permits have been granted.

As you may know, water sometimes gets squeezed out from the inner earth during an earthquake. I noticed that after these quakes, I had water coming through the seams in my garage /driveway.

A couple of days later, a white powder was left where the water seepage had been. Pieces of cement had also dissolved. Is this the leftovers from an acid, I wondered?

Fracking is a process of injecting fluid (water and chemicals) into the ground at a high pressure to release gas. It can use up to 600 different types chemicals in this process, many of them are acids. 

I don't have proof that fracking caused these series of neighborhood earthquakes, nor that the acid seeping through my garage is from the acids used in fracking. BUT, this experience has become a wake up call to make sure fracking gets curtailed. Fracking pollutes the earth, pollutes the underground water, uses and wastes LOTS of water (we don't have), and causes earthquakes. 

There are better choices we can make. We can be smarter and make better decisions.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Nothin' but net

"WOW! Look what Gramps brought me from Kansas!" shouts the Grandkid. "A basketball court!"

"Here is my lay up...."

"and nothin' but net! The crowd goes wild!"

"We now get to play some 'One-on-One', 'Twenty-one',  'HORSE', or 'Around the World'. Gramps is teaching me all these games and even more. We are having fun, fun, fun!"

It's Charlotte, not Stockard

Did you see the news? Prince William and Princess Kate named their new daughter Charlotte. So if you were expecting her to be named after Stockard Channing, you are out of luck.

I thought Stockard was kind of a weird name for a girl, but if the royal couple was looking for a name representing a strong female lead character from a movie or play, this name may be on their list.  But it looks like they stuck to the more traditional list of names, choosing the feminine form of Charles - the grandpa.

But it made me wonder, what parent would name their daughter Stockard, a name so close to "stock yard"?  The tauntings in the playground would either make a person tough, or crush them to pieces. So I looked up Stockard Channing in Wikipedia. You will be pleased to know that  Stockard Channing's parents gave her the name of Susan Antonia Williams Stockard. Later, she married a man by the name of Walter Channing, got divorced, and then amalgamated her name to become Stockard Channing. By then, she was an adult and not subject to playground beatings.

So now there is a new English royal, she was born, she was named, and we can go about our normal life again.

And another one bites the dust (aka Elastic Heart)

I was quite taken by this song, Elastic Heart, by Sia, when I first heard it. I was moved by the clarity of her tone and how it seemed to resonate and touch my inner core. Then I saw the official video and had a totally different reaction to the song. The video is a visual representation of two Sia's playing off and pushing against each other, perhaps male versus female expectations? or maybe past versus future? Naturally, I then had to look up the lyrics to get more clarity into what the artist is saying. I was again taken in another new direction - this time realizing it's a break-up song!  I must say, Sia (who no longer shows her face) is quite an eclectic artist.

Lyrics to the "Elastic Heart" by Sia 
And another one bites the dust
Oh why can I not conquer love?
And I might have thought that we were one
Wanted to fight this war without weapons

And I wanted it, I wanted it bad
But there were so many red flags
Now another one bites the dust
Yeah, let's be clear, I'll trust no one

You did not break me
I'm still fighting for peace

Well, I've got thick skin and an elastic heart,
But your blade - it might be too sharp
I'm like a rubber band until you pull too hard,
Yeah, I may snap and I move fast
But you won't see me fall apart
'Cause I've got an elastic heart

I've got an elastic heart
Yeah, I've got an elastic heart

And I will stay up through the night
Let's be clear, won't close my eyes
And I know that I can survive
I'll walk through fire to save my life

And I want it, I want my life so bad
I'm doing everything I can
Then another one bites the dust
It's hard to lose a chosen one

You did not break me
(You did not break me, no)
I'm still fighting for peace

Well, I've got thick skin and an elastic heart,
But your blade - it might be too sharp
I'm like a rubber band until you pull too hard,
Yeah, I may snap and I move fast
But you won't see me fall apart
'Cause I've got an elastic heart

I've got an elastic heart

Sunday, May 3, 2015


"Gramz, what are you doing?" asks the grandkid.

"I am so embarrassed!"

"Are you done yet? Can we go?"

Worlds Best Teacher

Just in case you missed this on PBS, this is some information on a teacher who received an award for being the best teacher in the WORLD! What makes her the best teacher? Because her model is based on allowing children to choose what they focus on based on their interests.

Imagine how our lives may have turned out differently if we could have had more choice in what we studied.  But I guess, this is what retirement does - it may provide time and opportunity to learn the things you are drawn to.  

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Smooching in Public

"Hey! What's going on up there?  Why are we stopping?  Was that one of those smoochy kisses, again?" asks the Bambino.  "Eeew!"

"OK, let's get a move on. We're burning daylight."

"You guys are forcing me to become a back seat driver!"

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Some Reality Shows Have Become Society's New Freak Show

I have Apple TV, so have missed a lot of the reality TV programs. However, I have recently been staying with a friend who just had surgery, so naturally, her TV is often playing during her recuperation. Needless to say, my eyes keep popping out of my head with an abundance of these reality TV shows.

First was the "Housewives of Beverly Hills" which was like watching rich, beautiful, caddy, and insecure women still stuck in Jr. High School. Then came the "Million Dollar Listing New York" and it also made me gag.  It blatantly showed the lying of the Realtors in their attempt to close a deal, make a sale, or get a listing. They were even gleeful in their dishonest lingo, behavior, and tactics. It made my stomach turn.

Yes, I was shocked. And this was the exact reaction the producers want. After all, many of these reality shows are modeled after the traveling circus - entertaining the public with freaks, misfits, and the bizarre. But all I could think of was "where is the accountability for this type of inappropriate behavior?"

I realize we need bad behavior examples in our life so we can see how NOT to behave or how NOT to be, but I think we currently have an overload of this type of freakish behavior on TV.

I keep hoping we will grow beyond this and society will demand better role models in TV programming. It would be nice to have TV get out from the muck of showing people bathed in self obsession, lies, deceit, and small mindedness, and instead, present people and situations that can inspire us to become better human beings.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Fastest Messaging System in 500 BC

The Greek historian, Herodotus, wrote that Persia (Iran) was using mounted dedicated couriers during the Persian Wars, from 500-449 BC. Herodotus was quite taken by this messaging process. It was most likely the fastest communication process of its day and stood out as being something extraordinary. 

Herodotus wrote,
"Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these courageous couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”  

Later, this same communication model was used in the USA (aka Pony Express) and later, this same motto was used by the US Postal Service on their buildings, some 2500 years after it was recorded.

Interesting, huh?

It seems the Persians of long ago realized the importance of fast messaging and built a system to make sure their communication was the fastest and most reliable of its day. This probably helped them win many of their wars. 

For Herodotus, a Greek (who was at war with Persia/Iran), this must have really stood out as one of the game changers since he commented about it in his book.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Just as Tall

"Gramz, LOOK!" says the grandkid.
"I'm just as tall as pops!"

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Contributions from the Muslim World

I'm currently taking a class at Berkeley on the History of the World from a Muslim perspective. The professor mentioned that anytime we hear a word with "Al" in a name, it came from the ancient Islamic world. I did not know this. I went to Wikipedia and learned medieval Islam made these contributions in the world:
  • Alchemy (chemistry)
  • Alcohol
  • Algebra 
  • Algorithm
  • Astronomy
These advances were done during or before the dark ages!
I then remembered a lecture from Neil deGrasse Tyson where he asked the question "why don't we see more Muslims getting a Nobel prize?"

So what changed from those ancient days to now? What happened to this culture being the leader in physics, math, chemistry, and science?

Friday, April 24, 2015

Taking Materials from Nature's Waste & Using Them to Develop Products

At a lecture on how nature is inspiring radical innovation, Jay Harmon shared how carrots are now being used to make fishing rods with plans to use this process in snow boards, car parts, and battle ships. Yes, carrots.

Nano fibers are extracted from the carrot, the water is removed, and then it is mixed with hi-tech resins. This  enables tough, durable components to be moulded to whatever shape, degree of stiffness, strength or lightness required.

Two Scottish scientists developed this process and their first product is fly fishing rods and the company is CelluComp.  Very interesting information and video, especially if you are interested in how problems get solved by studying nature.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Graphene - the next technology revolution

At a lecture at Berkeley, we were reminded how we have had several stages of intellectual advancement, such as the technology revolution (which we have been recently immersed in).
But the next technology revolution is already in gear and is called the Graphene Age.

What is so special about graphene?
  • it is the smallest known material known - 1 atom thick
  • lightest material known 
  • strongest material known (stronger than diamonds)
  • bends
  • can be transparent
  • conducts heat
  • conducts electricity
  • allows nothing to pass through it except water

How can graphene be used?
  • create flexible cell phones
  • create very thin tv’s you can role up
  • create lighter aircraft
  • make batteries that hold a longer charge
  • solar power
  • electric cars making them more affordable
  • anti-corrosive for metal
  • filter water for clean drinking water 
  • filter out salt from the sea 

So if you are like me, and didn't even know we were once again starting on a new roller coaster of technology, here is a brief video to help you be aware of what is around the corner and what the next ride is going to be like.