(Click on cartoon for larger size.)

This cartoon reminds me of a spoof marriage quiz I read almost 50 years ago.

Q: Do you and your spouse agree about money matters?

A: Yes, we both deplore extravagance. I deplore his and he deplores mine.

I still laugh when I think of it. Do you still remember any jokes from years ago?


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Father’s Day Card

This past Sunday was Father’s Day here in the U.S. (and in India), so Randy Glasbergen drew this cartoon. A man is sitting looking at a handmade card with a childish picture on the front. The words inside say,

Deer Dad, I hoap you have a nise Fathers Day. You are smart and funny and mom is two. Have a reely grate and speshul day tooday.
PS Thank you for sending me to collige!

Yes, our American educational system does have its problems, but I hope it’s not as bad as that!


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Needs a Bit More Work

Yes, it needs more work, but it’s amazing that it can get up by itself.


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Connection and Exclusiveness

Linda has mentioned that she’s disconcerted when people she had viewed as kind and loving turn out to be prejudiced about people who are different from them. I know how she feels.

I was excited when scientists started talking about oxytocin, the hormone that lessens stress and anxiety and fosters trust, cooperation, forgiveness, generosity, and empathy. All good things, right? Just what the world needs. Some people even jokingly suggested if we put the hormone in water supplies it would solve a lot of problems.

Of course, it was too good to be true. Yes, ocytocin tended to make people feel kinder and closer to members of their own group, but it also tended to make them more unfriendly to outsiders. Strong social bonding often means exclusiveness.

I tend to have warm, friendly feelings towards people, but I’ve mostly not joined groups. And when I’ve experienced cliquishness I’ve been lucky enough to be able to ignore it or to leave. What has your experience been?


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Little Thingies in the Head

I agree with Earl, it’s a good idea to grow more of those little thingies if we can, or at least use the ones we have so we don’t lose them.

That’s one reason I blog every day — it means when something grabs my attention in the news or on the web I think about how I might write about it in a blog. It’s fun to see if anyone else shares my interest, and it’s gentle mental exercise. Yay, blogging! Yay, little thingies in the head!


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So Much for Competence

Unfortunately government is about power and influence, not so much about making things work well. I’m glad I don’t have to live in that environment.


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Traveling in America

Angus at Bob and Sophie’s French Adventures told us about this article: Don’t Make Jokes About Bombs and No Nude Sunbathing — What foreign governments tell their citizens about the perils of vacationing in the United States.

The part I liked best was

A foreign visitor to the United States once informed me, with great sincerity, that Americans are much more polite to one another than the citizens of his home country. I was pleased to hear this (See? Foreigners don’t all hate us!) — until he added that such courtesy is, of course, a life-saving precaution for Americans, since it’s well-known that everyone in the United States carries guns and will shoot at the slightest provocation.

When the author of the article asked the foreigner why he thought that, he said his embassy had told him. The article discusses what other governments are warning their citizens about if they visit America, and I laughed when I read it. (Unfortunately, some of the seemingly ridiculous warnings aren’t that farfetched.)


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Water Rights

The general assembly declares that the state of Colorado claims the right to all moisture suspended in the atmosphere which falls or is artificially induced to fall within its borders. Said moisture is declared to be the property of the people of this state, dedicated to their use pursuant to sections 5 and 6 of article XVI of the Colorado constitution and as otherwise provided by law.
—From the constitution of the state of Colorado

Things may be changing in the state of Colorado. For years it was illegal for home owners to collect the rain that fell on their roofs — the rain needed to fall to the ground so it could flow into surrounding creeks and streams. The water in those creeks and streams belonged to the farmers, ranchers, developers and water agencies that had inherited or bought the water rights. The fact that most of that rainwater would have sunk into the ground or evaporated didn’t make any difference.

Apparently violators of the law weren’t prosecuted as long as they were discreet and didn’t collect too much water. And in 2009 the law was changed so people who pumped their water from wells were allowed to collect rainwater, with some reasonable restrictions.

Now, thanks to a bill passed by the house of representatives in March, all small users may be allowed to save rainwater. I can’t find out if the senate approved it, but at any rate, things are clearly starting to change.

I was intrigued by the subject because Andy and I had our own water rights problem. Before we drilled our well we obtained a permit from the state,
but that didn’t protect us from being threatened by a Federal lawsuit accusing us of trespassing on the water rights of the U. S. Government and some Indian tribes.

The first thing we did was to get out a map and see where water in our area was flowing. We were clearly not in the water basin the suit was talking about, so we went to a lawyer. He said he wouldn’t even have talked to us if he thought we were legitimately part of the the suit — matters like this take years to resolve and can cost hundred of thousands of dollars. We would have had to join the other plaintiffs in the suit.

But he did agree with our assessment, so he phoned the relevant attorneys, explained the situation, and said we wouldn’t countersue if they took our name off the suit. They did, so for a few hundred dollars we could heave a sigh of relief. I often joke about lawyers, but we were grateful that this one!

Have you ever been threatened with a lawsuit?


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An Ambitious Project

What’s the most dangerous creature to humans, beside fellow humans?

So far we humans haven’t had a lot of success in getting rid of the mosquitoes that spread disease, but Microsoft, in collaboration with scientists from a number of universities, is trying to exploit mosquitoes to identify and give early warnings of the spread of infectious diseases around the world.

The overall goal of this project is to monitor infectious agents as they move across the planet. So in the end game we’d like to have a global system available that detects new infectious agents and then monitors their movement as they emerge. In this way we could intervene before they become an epidemic and before they become an infectious problem for humans or wildlife.
–James Pipas, Professor of molecular biology, University of Pittsburgh and participant in Project Premonition

It’s an ambitious project using semi-autonomous drones to place and recover mosquito traps, then analyzing the mosquitoes for the pathogens they are carrying and seeing how those pathogens spread with time. It is obviously a long-range project and there is no guarantee of success, but good for them for trying. I wish them luck!


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Learning from History

History does not always repeat itself. Sometimes it just yells, “Can’t you remember anything I told you?” and lets fly with a club.
—John W. Campbell Jr.

That quote has a lot more zip than the usual,

People who don’t learn from history are bound to repeat it.

But the question is, what would history be trying to tell us?

At the moment I’m reading Larry Gonick’s Cartoon History of the Universe III: From the Rise of Arabia to the Renaissance.


As you can see from the cover, it doesn’t tell us how mankind can live in peace and harmony. If anything it warns us that sooner or later someone else will try dominate us. Do you think that’s too pessimistic a view?


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