Monday, April 23, 2018

They say that Spanish is one of the easiest languages to learn

...but be careful or you might call the pope a potato (12:12).

Señor Wences's little friend used to say, "For you easy, for me difficult."


In the fifth grade I learned a sentence in Spanish, "Este es el gato" (This is the cat). It was the only thing I knew in Spanish for many years. One day when I was in my fifties a gang of us at work decided to go out to lunch at a Mexican restaurant. As we were being shown to our table, Paul (a temporary employee who was never offered a permanent position) called out loud enough for everyone in the place to hear,"Donde es las mujeres?" and every waiter turned to look at us. It was pretty embarrassing, and even more so when I learned that Paul was saying, "Where are the women?"

I had learned my second sentence in Spanish.

Paul was, how you say, a little loco in the cabeza.

But then, aren't we all?

I can also say "Good morning" in Albanian (Mirë mengjes), "Goodbye" in Japanese (Sayonara), "Thank you" in Portuguese (Obrigado), and "Where is the men's toilet?" in Swedish (Var finns der herrtoaletten?).

My passport expired in 1979. It's probably a good thing.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Real Texans never tire of certain subjects

Today being April 21st, please, pretty please with sugar on top, do the following:

First, if you are reading this on a smart phone, return to the previous screen, scroll to the bottom of the list of posts, and click on "View web version" because you can't do what I'm going to ask you to do on the smart phone layout.

Okay, then. Is everybody ready? Let us proceed.

Scroll down until you see the word LABELS over there on the right side of your screen and continue scrolling, and scrolling, and scrolling. Eventually you will reach an entry called "San Jacinto". Click on it. You will be shown four previous posts of mine about -- wait for it -- San Jacinto.

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to read every last word of the first, second, and fourth post, including every last comment. The third post contains many links that have nothing to do with San Jacinto, but if you would like to receive extra credit for the course, you must read the third post also.

A word to the wise: The final examination may contain questions from all four posts, including what kind of underwear General Santa Anna wore, why bluebonnets are important, and who Jerry Ragsdale is.

Thank you ever so much. A happy, restful, and peaceful April 21st to each and every one of you.

This post will self-destruct in five seconds.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Outer Hebrides are fascinating at this time of year

...especially if you have a blogger friend named Graham Edwards who lives there and posts the following mathematical limerick:

12 + 144 + 20 + (3 x √4) + (5 x 11) = 92 + 0
________________
....................7

Yes, it's a limerick. And if you can't figure it out, another blogger, a Scotsman named Adrian Ward who not only repairs big machinery but also takes microphotographs of fungus and insects, can:

A dozen, a gross and a score,
Plus three times the square root of four,
Divided by seven,
Plus five times eleven,
Is nine squared and not a bit more.

The world is a wonderful place.

That's all for today.

P.S. - Something or other involving the colonies and Paul Revere happened on this day in 1775.

Monday, April 16, 2018

77 is just a number

...but if you are a Biblical numerologist (I am not) numbers have meanings. For example, 6 is the number of man because man was created on the sixth day; 3 is the number of God because although God is one, Christians believe He is triune (three in one) as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; 7 is the number of perfection because God rested from His creating on the seventh day, 8 is the number of new beginnings because everything starts over again after 7; and so forth.

If you believe any of this stuff (the jury is still out) then 666 as the number of the Anti-Christ makes sense because, well, 6 is the number of man and 3 is the number of God, so three sixes would be man trying to be God, but not succeeding because God's perfection is represented by the number 777 and it is clear that 666 will never be 777, no way, José.

I sound more like Billy Ray Barnwell every day (samples of his writing here and here).

None of this matters in the slightest except that last month on my birthday I turned 77, so I am now, by a certain kind of reckoning, not merely perfect but perfectly perfect. The only way I could be any more perfect is if I live to be 777, which won't happen any time soon, if ever.

I do want to thank all you wonderful people out there in the dark Elizabeth S. of Sheffield, Yorkshire, England in the U.K. for telling me more about the number 77:

  • It is the sum of the first eight prime numbers:
    2 + 3 + 5 + 7 + 11 + 13 + 17 + 19

  • It is the sum of three consecutive squares:
    42 + 52 + 62; that is, 16 + 25 + 36

  • It is the atomic number of iridium.

    Wikipedia says of this element, "A very hard, brittle, silvery-white transition metal of the platinum group, iridium is the second densest element (after osmium). It is also the most corrosion-resistant metal, even at temperatures as high as 2000 °C. Although only certain molten salts and halogens are corrosive to solid iridium, finely divided iridium dust is much more reactive and can be flammable." Any similarities you may think you detect between the characteristics of iridium and moi are purely coincidental.

  • It is the boiling point of nitrogen on the Kelvin scale (°K). For your information, 77°K equals minus 195 degrees Celsius (°C) and minus 320 degrees Fahrenheit (°F).

  • In the United Methodist Hymnal (1989 edition), hymn 77 is "How Great Thou Art"

  • Psalm 77 in the King James Version of the Bible (KJV) is headed as being "To the Chief Musician" and in the New International Version (NIV) as being "For the Director of Music".

Elizabeth also mentioned how cool it was that God, who knew how important I was going to be, had the Psalmist write a psalm especially for me all those years ago!

I close this post by inviting all of you to the next meeting of Narcissists Anonymous, time and place to be announced later.

Friday, April 13, 2018

I'm walkin' up the highway

Hilltophomesteader (Pam D. in southwest Washington state) sent me a "belated happy birthday" email and wondered if all was well because I have not posted anything in several weeks.

The short answer is yes indeedy, All Is well! (3:52), although I do admit to being a little out of sync seasonally.

That song may be appropriate for Christmas Eve, but He is not in the manger now. Easter has come, and as a friend of mine said in an unintentionally humorous post on Facebook during Holy Week, "Let us be reminded Jesus died on that cross but He arose on the third day and now sets on the right hand of the Father, making intersections for us (pleading our case)." [emphasis mine]

Somewhere Mrs. Malaprop is nodding in agreement. For the Biblically-challenged, the word my friend meant was intercession. Also, only someone like me who grew up around chickens seems to know the difference between sets and sits these days. But I digress.

Because of the way my mind works, I immediately thought of the third verse of the old Fanny Crosby hymn, "To God Be the Glory":

Great things He hath taught us, great things He hHath done,
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son,
But purer and higher and greater will be
Our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see.
[once again, emphasis mine]

Get it? Intersections? Transport?

Well, I thought it was funny.

But then I started thinking (always a dangerous practice) and decided maybe my friend had a point. After all, the book of Isaiah tells of “the voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”

Highways, even the limited-access kind, have to have points of access or they are useless. So maybe Christ really is making intersections for us.

Here are some happy travelers on the highway (8:18).