Thursday, December 31, 2015

Points of Wisdom!

The location of your mailbox shows you how far away from your house you can be in a robe before you start looking like a mental patient.

My therapist said that my narcissism causes me to misread social situations.  I'm pretty sure she was hitting on me.

My 60 year kindergarten reunion is coming up soon and I'm worried about the 175 lbs.  I've gained since then.

I always wondered what the job application is like at Hooters.  Do they just give you a bra and say, "Here, fill this out?"

The speed with which a woman says "nothing" when asked "What's wrong?" is inversely proportional to the severity of the shit storm that's coming.

Denny's has a slogan, 'If it's your birthday, the meal is on us.'  If you're in Denny's and it's your birthday ... your life sucks!

If I make you breakfast in bed, a simple "Thank you" is all I need, not all this, "How did you get into my house" business!

The pharmacist asked me my birth date again today.  Pretty sure she's going to get me something.

On average, an American man will have sex two to three times a week.  Whereas, a Japanese man will have sex only one or two times a year.  This is very upsetting news to me.  I had no idea I was Japanese.

I can't understand why women are okay that JC Penny has an older women's clothing line named, " Sag Harbor ".

I think it's pretty cool how Chinese people made a language entirely out of tattoos.

What is it about a car that makes people think we can't see them pick their noses?

Money can't buy happiness but it keeps the kids in touch!

The reason Mayberry was so peaceful and quiet was because nobody was married.  Andy, Aunt Bea, Barney, Floyd, Howard, Goober, Gomer, Sam, Earnest T. Bass, Helen, Thelma Lou, Clara ... and, of course, Opie-- all single.  The only married person was Otis, and he stayed drunk.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Where Is ‘Open Carry’ Legal?

in case you got a new gun for Christmas...

As people on both sides of the debate regarding open carry—the practice of carrying firearms in plain view—have been turning up the heat, more companies are being forced to take a side.
Gun-rights advocates see the practice as a way to normalize gun ownership and deter crime, while gun-control activists believe carrying guns in stores and restaurants is disruptive to the public and encourages violence.
Recently, TargetStarbucks and Chipotle have asked their patrons not to bring their guns. After petitions by gun-control groups such as Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in AmericaKroger said it would uphold local and state laws in the 34 states it operates.
Carrying a firearm in a concealed manner is legal in all states, but open carry has more restrictions, especially for handguns. Though federal law doesn’t restrict the open carrying of handguns in public, several states—including California, Florida, Illinois, New York, South Carolina and Texas—ban the practice, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Thirteen states require a special permit or license to open carry. The remaining 31 states don’t require one. The laws are different for long guns, which are commonly associated with hunting. 
Why is open carry causing so much of a stir when concealed carry is so widespread?
“Concealed carry—you don’t know who’s doing it and it doesn’t cause as much concern as open carry,” said Laura Cutilletta, senior staff attorney at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “One is a danger you know, and one is a danger you don’t know.”
According to Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action,”The National Rifle Association strongly supports conceal carry and open carry, and we will continue to lead the charge to protect and expand the right to self defense for law abiding Americans throughout the country.”

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


Something for seniors to do to keep those "aging" grey cells active!
1. Johnny's mother had three children.  The first child was named April.  The second child was named May....What was the third child's name?
2. There is a clerk at the butcher shop, he is five feet ten inches tall and he wears size 13 sneakers....What does he weigh?
3. Before Mt. Everest was discovered...what was the highest mountain in the world?
4. How much dirt is there in a hole ...that measures two feet by three feet by four feet?
5. What word in the English Language always spelled incorrectly?
6. Billy was born on December 28th, yet his birthday is always in the summer. ....How is this possible?
7. In California, you cannot take a picture of a man with a wooden leg....Why not?
8. What was the President's 1975?
9. If you were running a race...and you passed the person in 2nd place, what place would you be in now?
10. Which is correct to say..."The yolk of the egg are white" or "The yolk of the egg is white"?
11. If a farmer has 5 haystacks in one field and 4 haystacks in the other field many haystacks would he have if he combined them all in another field?


Here are the Answers
1. Johnny's mother had three children. The first child was named April The second child was named May. What was the third child's name?
Answer: Johnny of course
2. There is a clerk at the butcher shop, he is five feet ten inches tall, and he wears size 13 sneakers. What does he weigh?
Answer: Meat.
3. Before Mt. Everest was discovered, what was the highest mountain in the world?
Answer: Mt. Everest; it just wasn't discovered yet. [You’re not very good at this are you?]
4. How much dirt is there in a hole that measures two feet by three feet by four feet?
Answer: There is no dirt in a hole.
5. What word in the English Language is always spelled incorrectly?
Answer: Incorrectly
6. Billy was born on December 28th, yet his birthday is always in the summer. How is this possible?
Answer: Billy lives in the Southern Hemisphere
7. In California, you cannot take a picture of a man with a wooden leg. Why not?
Answer: You can't take pictures with a wooden leg. You need a camera to take pictures.
8. What was the President's Name in 1975?
Answer: Same as is it now - Barack Obama [Oh, come on ...]
9. If you were running a race, and you passed the person in 2nd place, what place would you be in now?
Answer: You would be in 2nd. Well, you passed the person in second place, not first.
10. Which is correct to say, "The yolk of the egg are white" or "The yolk of the egg is white"?
Answer: Neither, the yolk of the egg is yellow [Duh]
11. If a farmer has 5 haystacks in one field and 4 haystacks in the other field, how many haystacks would he have if he combined them all in another field?
Answer: One. If he combines all of his haystacks, they all become one big one.


1) You can't count your hair.
2) You can't wash your eyes with soap.
3) You can't breathe through your nose when your tongue is out.
Put your tongue back in your mouth, you silly person.

Ten (10) Things I know about you.
1) You are reading this.
2) You are human.
3) You can't say the letter ''P'' without separating your lips.
4) You just attempted to do it.
6) You are laughing at yourself.
7) You have a smile on your face and you skipped No. 5.
8) You just checked to see if there is a No. 5.
9) You laugh at this because you are a fun loving person & everyone does it too.
10) You are probably going to send this to see who else falls for it.

You have received this e-mail because I didn't want to be alone in the idiot category.

Monday, December 28, 2015

North Dakota Names Landfill After Obama

The state of North Dakota has named a new publicly-owned landfill after President Barack Obama.

In an overwhelming 35-10 vote, the state Senate advanced a bill naming a 650-acre site currently under construction after the nation’s 44th president. Governor Jack Dalrymple is expected to sign the measure into law Tuesday.

When completed, the Barack Obama Memorial Landfill will be the largest waste disposal site in North Dakota, and the 17th largest in the United States. It will be especially rich in toxic waste from the local petroleum and medical industries.

“We wanted to do something to honor the president,” says Republican State Senator Doug Perlman, who was the lead sponsor of the bill. “And I think a pile of garbage is a fitting tribute to Obama’s presidency.

“We originally planned on naming it after a nearby mountain. But then someone jokingly suggested we name it after Obama. I never thought an idea like that would actually pass. But I was pleasantly surprised.”

The president is hardly popular in North Dakota. The most recent poll in December 2013 found that Obama has a 35% approval rating in the state, although that figure may have fallen further in the year since. Yet even considering the political climate, seasoned observers are surprised  that two Democratic lawmakers voted for the bill’s passage.

“I supported Obama because I thought he would end the wars in the Middle East;” says Allison Mitchell, a progressive Democrat from Grand Forks. “But he decided to fight new wars abroad instead of fighting for single-payer health care and jobs here at home.

“I guess people expected me to oppose this landfill thing because I’m a Democrat. But honestly I don’t really care anymore. Maybe this small act of protest will wake him up.”

Ordinary citizens in the state also seem to approve of the government’s choice.

“I can’t think of a better name,” says Joe Blough, a plumber from Minot. “It’s darkly colored and it's full of shit. That pretty much sums up Obama.”


Brief Analysis

The report is fiction. It comes from the satirical website The Daily Currant and was never intended to be taken as a serious news story. However, a number of political blogs and forums have been duped by the piece and have rather gleefully posted it as true.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Golfing Nun

A nun walked into Mother Superior's office and plunked down into a chair. She let out a sigh heavy with frustration.

'What troubles you, Sister?' asked the... Mother Superior. 'I thought this was the day you spent with your family.'

'It was,' sighed the Sister. 'And I went to play golf with my brother. We try to play golf as often as we can. You know I was quite a talented golfer before I devoted my life to Christ.'

'I seem to recall that,' the Mother Superior agreed. 'So I take it your day of recreation was not relaxing?' 

'Far from it,' snorted the Sister. 'In fact, I even took the Lord's name in vain today!' 

'Goodness, Sister!' gasped the Mother Superior, astonished. 'You must tell me all about it!'

'Well, we were on the fifth tee...and this hole is a monster, Mother - 540 yard Par 5, with a nasty dogleg right and a hidden green...and I hit the drive of my life. I creamed it. The sweetest swing I ever made.

And it's flying straight and true, right along the line I wanted...and it hits a bird in mid-flight!'

'Oh my!' commiserated the Mother. 'How unfortunate! But surely that didn't make you blaspheme, Sister!' 

'No, that wasn't it,' admitted Sister. 'While I was still trying to fathom what had happened, this squirrel ran out of the woods, grabbed my ball and ran off down the fairway!'

'Oh, that would have made me blaspheme!' sympathized the Mother. 

'But I didn't, Mother!' sobbed the Sister. 'I was so proud of myself! And while I was pondering whether this was a sign from God, this hawk swooped out of the sky, grabbed the squirrel and flew off, with my ball still clutched in his paws!'

'So that's when you cursed,' said the Mother with a knowing smile.

'Nope, that wasn't it either,' cried the Sister, anguished, 'because as the hawk started to fly out of sight, the squirrel started struggling, so the hawk dropped him right there on the green, and the ball popped out of his paws and rolled to about 18 inches from the cup!'

Mother Superior sat back in her chair, folded her arms across her chest, fixed the Sister with a baleful stare and said...

'You missed the damn putt, didn't you?'

Saturday, December 26, 2015


You thought you knew the Internet. But sites such as Facebook, Amazon, and Instagram are just the surface. There’s a whole other world out there: the Deep Web.

It’s a place where online information is password protected, trapped behind paywalls, or requires special software to access—and it’s massive. By some estimates, it is 500 times larger than the surface Web that most people search every day. Yet it’s almost completely out of sight. According to a study published in Nature, Google indexes no more than 16 percent of the surface Web and misses all of the Deep Web. Any given search turns up just 0.03 percent of the information that exists online (one in 3,000 pages). It’s like fishing in the top two feet of the ocean—you miss the virtual Mariana Trench below.

Much of the Deep Web’s unindexed material lies in mundane data­bases such as LexisNexis or the rolls of the U.S. Patent Office. But like a Russian matryoshka doll, the Deep Web contains a further hidden world, a smaller but significant community where malicious actors unite in common purpose for ill. Welcome to the Dark Web, sometimes called the Darknet, a vast digital underground where hackers, gangsters, terrorists, and pedophiles come to ply their trade. What follows is but a cursory sampling of the goods and services available from within the darkest recesses of the Internet.

Things You Can Buy

1. Drugs
Individual or dealer-level quantities of illicit and prescription drugs of every type are available in the digital underground. The Silk Road, the now-shuttered drug superstore, did $200 million of business in 28 months.

2. Counterfeit Currency
Fake money varies widely in quality and cost, but euros, pounds, and yen are all available. Six hundred dollars gets you $2,500 in counterfeit U.S. notes, promised to pass the typical pen and ultraviolet-light tests.

3. Forged Papers
Passports, driver’s licenses, citizenship papers, fake IDs, college diplomas, immigration documents, and even diplomatic ID cards are available on illicit marketplaces such as Onion Identity Services. A U.S. driver’s license costs approximately $200, while passports from the U.S. or U.K. sell for a few thousand bucks.

4. Firearms, Ammunition, and Explosives
Weapons such as handguns and C4 explosives are procurable on the Dark Web. Vendors ship their products in specially shielded packages to avoid x-rays or send weapons components hidden in toys, musical instruments, or electronics.

5. Hitmen
Service providers—including a firm named for the H.P. Lovecraft monster C’thulhu—advertise “permanent solutions to common problems.” For everything from private grudges to political assassinations, these hired guns accept bitcoin as payment and provide photographic proof of the deed.

6. Human Organs
In the darker corners of the Dark Web, a vibrant and gruesome black market for live organs thrives. Kidneys may fetch $200,000, hearts $120,000, livers $150,000, and a pair of eyeballs $1,500.

Things That Make Internet Crime Work

1. Cryptocurrency
Digital cash, such as bitcoin and darkcoin, and the payment system Liberty Reserve provide a convenient system for users to spend money online while keeping their real-world identities hidden.

2. Bulletproof Web-hosting Services
Some Web hosts in places such as Russia or Ukraine welcome all content, make no attempts to learn their customers’ true identities, accept anonymous payments in bitcoin, and routinely ignore subpoena requests from law enforcement.


Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin help keep the deep web in business.

3. Cloud Computing
By hosting their criminal malware with reputable firms, hackers are much less likely to see their traffic blocked by security systems. A recent study suggested that 16 percent of the world’s malware and cyber attack distribution channels originated in the Amazon Cloud.

4. Crimeware
Less skilled criminals can buy all the tools they need to identify system vulnerabilities, commit identity theft, compromise servers, and steal data. It was a hacker with just such a tool kit who invaded Target’s point-of-sale system in 2013.

5. Hackers For Hire
Organized cybercrime syndicates outsource hackers-for-hire. China's Hidden Lynx group boasts up to 100 professional cyberthieves, some of whom are known to have penetrated systems at Google, Adobe, and Lockheed Martin.

6. Multilingual Crime Call Centers
Employees will play any duplicitous role you would like, such as providing job and educational references, initiating wire transfers, and unblocking hacked accounts. Calls cost around $10.

How to Access the Dark Web’s Wares

Anonymizing Browser
Tor—short for The Onion Router—is one of several software programs that provide a gateway to the Dark Web. Tor reroutes signals across 6,000 servers to hide a page request’s origin, making clicks on illicit material nearly impossible for law enforcement to trace. It uses secret pages with .onion suffixes—rather than .com—which are only accessible with a Tor browser.
Secret Search Engines
In mid-2014, a hacker created Grams, the Dark Web’s first distributed search engine. Grams allows would-be criminals to search for drugs, guns, and stolen bank accounts across multiple hidden sites. It even includes an "I’m Feeling Lucky" button and targeted ads where drug dealers compete for clicks.

Criminal Wikis
Carefully organized wikis list hidden sites by category, such as Hacks, Markets, Viruses, and Drugs. Descriptions of each link help curious newcomers find their desired illicit items.
Hidden Chatrooms

Just as in the real world, online criminals looking to obtain the most felonious material must be vouched for before they can transact. A network of invitation-only chatrooms and forums, hidden behind unlisted alphanumeric Web addresses, provides access to the most criminal of circles.

This article was adapted from Marc Goodman’s book Future Crimes, which was published in February. It originally appeared in the April 2015 issue of Popular Science, under the title "The Dark Web Revealed.” All text © 2015 Marc Goodman, published by arrangement with Doubleday, an imprint of The Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Something to Consider

Ok, we know that Jesus was probably born in early January and Constantine changed the date to December 25th. We also know that the Wise Men came to a house and not the stable when Jesus was nearly two years old. By now we understand that the ‘inn’ was really the house of a relative since the word for ‘inn’ is the same as the Greek word used to identify the upper room for the last supper. These things we have often heard.

But consider this: According to the Gospel of Luke, Mary and Joseph offered pigeons or doves for their offering at the temple to declare Mary clean from the birth of a male. This was 40 days after the birth as prescribe by law. Only the poor could offer pigeons for the sacrifice. Poor people don’t own donkeys. Scripture does not mention Mary riding on a donkey when they traveled to Bethlehem for Joseph to be counted. Mary probably walked with Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem where Jesus was born. That would be a trip of 90 plus miles while she was 9 months pregnant.

But Mary didn’t have to make the trip with Joseph. Only the males were required to register. Why would she go? Could it be because the penalty for adultery in those days would be death by stoning and being pregnant and unmarried was assumed to be by adultery. If the people of Nazareth didn’t follow the adultery law, at minimum her ridicule would still be unbearable. Being a woman alone, she would receive no assistance from anyone. Since women were not able to decide things of such importance in those days, Joseph would need to have told her to come along which speaks to his love for her and faith that her pregnancy was God’s work.

Another issue, the social laws of hospitality were very strict in those days. Travelers were to be taken care of better than the family. An example of that is found in Genesis where Lott offers his virgin daughters to the mob in order to protect the visitors. These rules of conduct even stated that the owner of the house should give up his bed and comfort to provide for the guests. That being the case, what we often consider as a grumpy innkeeper, was probably a relative already sleeping outside and possibly had to give up his position in the stable to provide for Mary and Joseph.

The manger scenes of the modern Christmas displays usually show baby Jesus in a wooden feeding trough lying on a bed of hay. Most feeding troughs of that time were made of stone, which would have been cold and hard. Livestock is not known for neatness when eating. Over time the bottom of the trough would collect a layer of dust and drool. The whole area would be filthy and probably full of bugs, not to mention the aroma of livestock droppings on the floor of the shelter.

That presents a deeper, more enhanced picture of the circumstances surrounding the birth of our Lord. Humble is an understatement. When we take into consideration the people and the environment behind any Bible story and author, the whole picture becomes much more clear. Taking this in, I sit here amazed at the depth of the real story. And then I am convicted. How often do I make judgments about people or circumstances with limited knowledge of the background? Too often I suspect.

Merry Christmas to you all.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Seventh Stanza

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.In the summer of 1861, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s wife, Frances, died tragically in a fire. That first Christmas without her, he wrote in his diary, “How inexpressibly sad are the holidays.” The next year was no better, as he recorded, “ ‘A merry Christmas,’ say the children, but that is no more for me.”

In 1863, as the American Civil War was dragging on, Longfellow’s son joined the army against his father’s wishes and was critically injured. On Christmas Day that year, as church bells announced the arrival of another painful Christmas, Longfellow picked up his pen and began to write, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.”

The poem begins pleasantly, lyrically, but then takes a dark turn. The violent imagery of the pivotal fourth verse ill suits a Christmas carol. “Accursed” cannons “thundered,” mocking the message of peace. By the fifth and sixth verses, Longfellow’s desolation is nearly complete. “It was as if an earthquake rent the hearth-stones of a continent,” he wrote. The poet nearly gave up: “And in despair I bowed my head; ‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said.”

But then, from the depths of that bleak Christmas day, Longfellow heard the irrepressible sound of hope. And he wrote this seventh stanza.

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep! The wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on earth, good-will to men!”

The war raged on and so did memories of his personal tragedies, but it could not stop Christmas. The Messiah is born! He promises, “I am making everything new!” (Rev. 21:5).

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Armed Americans are the Best Defense Against Armed Terrorists

Congressman McClintock today delivered the following remarks on the House floor:   

Mr. Speaker:

Ever since the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, leftist politicians have called for more restrictions on gun ownership for Americans.  These are the same politicians who have worked for years to open our nation to unprecedented and indiscriminate immigration from hotbeds of Islamic extremism.

The most effective defense against an armed terrorist is an armed American.  If one person in that room in San Bernardino had been able to return fire, many innocent lives could have been saved.  But Californians are subject to the most restrictive gun laws in the country, making it very difficult for law abiding citizens to exercise their second amendment right to defend themselves.  And in a society denied its right of self-defense, the gunman is king.
I repeat: The most effective defense against an armed terrorist is an armed American.  Yet the President and his followers act to increase the number of terrorists entering through porous borders and lax immigration laws, while at the same time acting to decrease the number of armed Americans.
Their latest ploy was announced by the President on Sunday and has been parroted by his Congressional allies this week to the point of disrupting the work of the House.  In the President’s words, “Congress should act to make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun.”  He asked, what could possibly be the argument against that?
While serving in the California State Senate a decade ago, I discovered that suddenly I couldn’t check in for a flight.  When I asked why, I was told I was on this government list.  The experience was Kafkaesque.  My first reaction was to ask, “Why am I on that list?”  “We can’t tell you that.”  “What are the criteria you use?” I asked.  “That’s classified.”  I said, “How can I get off this list?”  The answer was, “You can’t.”  I soon discovered another California State Senator had been placed on that list.  A few months later, U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy found himself on that list.
I, at least, had the office of the Senate Sergeant at Arms to work through – something an ordinary American would not.  Even so, it took months working through that office and repeated petitions to the government to get my name removed from that list.  The farce of it all was that I was advised in the meantime just to fly under my middle name, which I did without incident.
In my case, it turned out to be a case of mistaken identity with an IRA activist the British government was mad at.
This could happen to any American.  And the fine point of it is this.  During this administration, the IRS has been used extensively to harass and intimidate ordinary Americans for exercising their first amendment rights.  What the President proposes is that on the whim of a federal bureaucrat, Americans can be denied their second amendment rights as well, with no opportunity to confront their accuser, contest the evidence, or avail themselves of any of their other due process rights under the Constitution.  
The concept that the Left is seeking to instill in our law is that mere suspicion by a bureaucrat is sufficient to deny law-abiding American citizens their Constitutional rights.  And given the Left’s demonstrated hostility to freedom of speech and due process of law, it’s not hard to see where this is leading us.
I would support the President’s proposal IF it established a judicial process where an individual could only be placed on such a list once he was accorded all of his constitutional rights to be informed of the charges, given his day in court, accorded the right to confront his accuser and contest the evidence against him and submit himself to a decision by a jury of his peers.  But that is the farthest thing from the Left’s agenda. 
The President’s proposal would have done nothing to stop the carnage in San Bernardino, where the terrorists were not on any watch list.  Indeed, one was admitted from Saudi Arabia after vetting that the President has assured us is rigorous and thorough.  And several of the guns used in this massacre weren’t even acquired directly, but rather through a third party. 
Of course the American people don’t want terrorists to have guns! They don’t want terrorists in our country at all!  But the President’s policies have left our nation’s gates wide open – while he seeks to take from Americans their means of self-defense.    
So I leave off as I began: the best defense against an armed terrorist is an armed American.  That’s what the second amendment is all about.  It is an absolutely essential pillar of our security.
Our best defense of all is the Constitution itself, and it, in turn, must be defended against all enemies – foreign and domestic.
December 10, 2015

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

8 things to know about the winter solstice

“A day without sunshine is like, you know, night,” quipped Steve Martin – and indeed, even a day with less sunshine can feel a bit dark. Our world depends on the light radiating from that big star we traipse around, and when it's in short supply, we feel it. But if you count yourself amongst those who don’t love waking up before the sun rises and getting off work after it has set, things are about to lighten up. Hello, winter solstice!

Although winter is really just beginning, we can at least say goodbye to these short little days we’ve been suffering (and don’t let the door hit you on the way out). With that in mind, here’s a collection of curious facts to celebrate the long-awaited return to longer days.

1. There are actually two winter solstices every year

It’s sometimes easy to be hemisphere-o-centric, but the other side of the planet gets a winter solstice too. With the planet’s orbit tilted on its axis, Earth’s hemispheres swap who gets direct sun over the course of a year. Even though the Northern Hemisphere is closer to the sun during the winter, it’s the tilt away from the sun that causes cold temperatures and less light — which is when the Southern Hemisphere is toasty. So while our winter solstice is on Dec. 21 or 22, the Southern Hemisphere celebrates the same on June 21 or 22.

2. The winter solstice happens in the blink of an eye

Although the solstice is marked by a whole day on the calendar, it's actually just the brief moment when the sun is exactly over the Tropic of Capricorn that the event occurs.

3. Which is why it happens on different days in the same year

What? Yes! In 2015, the solstice happens on Dec. 22, at 04:49 on the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) time clock, the time standard that the world regulates its hours by. Which means any location that is at least five hours behind UTC should break out the party hats on Dec. 21. For example, in the United States the winter solstice happens on Dec. 21 at 11:49 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The rest of the time zones can welcome longer days beginning on the 22nd.

4. It’s the first day of winter … or it’s not, depending on whom you ask

Meteorologists consider the first day of winter to be Dec. 1, but ask an astronomer — or just about anyone else — and they’ll likely answer that the winter solstice marks the start of the season. There are two ways to look at it: meteorological seasons and astronomical seasons. Meteorological seasons are based on the annual temperature cycle, explains NOAA, while astronomical seasons are based on the position of the Earth in relation to the sun.

5. It’s a time of gloriously long shadows

Winter shadows
Winter shadows
Shadows are at their playful best on the solstice. (Photo: Mike Page/flickr)
If you’re inclined to take pleasure in the little things, like shadows that seem cast from a funhouse mirror, then the winter solstice is the time for you. It's now that the sun is at its lowest arc across the sky and thus, shadows from its light are at their longest. (Imagine a flashlight directly above your head and one hitting you from the side, and picture the respective shadows.) And in fact, your noontime shadow on the solstice is the longest it will be all year. Relish those long legs while you can.

6. Full solstice moons are rarer than blue ones

Since 1793, the full moon has only occurred on the winter solstice 10 times, according to the Farmer's Almanac. The last one was in 2010, which was also a lunar eclipse! The next full moon on a winter solstice won’t be until 2094.

7. There’s a Christmas connection

Since Christ wasn’t issued a birth certificate, there's no record of the date when he was supposed to have been born. Meanwhile, humans have been celebrating the winter solstice throughout history — the Romans had their feast of Saturnalia, early German and Nordic pagans had their yuletide celebrations. Even Stonehenge has connections to the solstice. But eventually Christian leaders, endeavoring to attract pagans to their faith, added Christian meaning to these traditional festivals. Many Christmas customs, like the Christmas tree, can be directly traced to solstice celebrations.

8. It’s a reminder to thank Copernicus

Nicolaus Copernicus
Nicolaus Copernicus

Will the real Saint Nick please step forward? (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
The word "solstice" comes from the Latin solstitium, meaning "point at which the sun stands still.” Since when has the sun ever moved?! Of course, before Renaissance astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (aka "super smartypants") came up with the ‘ol heliocentric model, we all figured that everything revolved around the Earth, sun included. Our continued use of the word "solstice" is a beautiful reminder of just how far we’ve come and provides a nice opportunity to give a tip of the hat to great thinkers who challenged the status quo.


Monday, December 21, 2015

Good ol' Harry is at it again...

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is seeking to attach a rider to a $1.1 trillion spending bill. The move would upend federal bankruptcy law, protecting some of the Nevada Democrat's casino interests, while potentially throwing pension and retirement funds under the bus.
Critics say it is an example of special interests running rampant in Congress' omnibus spending bill negotiations, and a group of 20 House Republicans are pressing the leadership to make sure it doesn't get added.
The law the Reid amendment seeks to change has been on the books since the Great Depression to protect investors. The changes he proposes have not been vetted through the congressional committee process. Republicans and academics alike admit that the regulations may need to be updated, but they say doing so through a rider in a 2015 end-of-year spending bill is not appropriate, especially given the potential for it to erode investor protections.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Panel OKs bill to create pro-2nd Amendment license plates

CARSON CITY — A Nevada Senate committee has passed a bill authorizing special license plates showing support for the 2nd Amendment.
The Senate Transportation Committee voted unanimously Thursday to pass SB229, which is sponsored by Republican Sen. Don Gustavson. It now heads for a vote on the Senate floor.
The proposed license plate design features a frontiersman with a gun and the words "Battle Born" and "Protect the Second Amendment." It would cost more than the standard Nevada license plate design.
Proceeds from sales of the plate would benefit the Nevada Firearms Commission. The committee added an amendment specifying that the money must be used for gun training or gun safety education.
Republican Committee Chair Scott Hammond said he didn't want the funds to be funneled to political activities.