Archive for September 29, 2017

Balls on Brass Monkeys

Stop teetering guiltily in public when you hear the term “cold enough to freeze the balls off of a brass monkey.”  It doesn’t refer to what you think it does.  Here’s a bit of American trivia for a ho-hum Friday:

In the days when sailing ships ruled the ocean, freighters and war ships were armed with cannons. Problem was, how to keep a good supply of round cannon balls from rolling around the moving ship’s deck and keep them in a small spot near the canon?

Someone came up with a stacking pattern: 16 balls on the bottom, with 9 on top of them, then one on the top. It worked–except that the bottom row kept wanting to slide out from under the upper rows.  So they added an iron plate, called a “Monkey,” to that lower row.

Then there was the problem of rust, which iron loves to do. Obviously, the answer was to make the plate out of brass rather than iron. Thus, the term “brass monkey.”

Here comes another problem: when it’s cold, brass contracts a lot more than iron, often so much that the cannon balls would fall right out of the plates’ indentations and roll right out.

And that’s how we ended up with “cold enough to freeze the balls off of a brass monkey.”

Winter is coming.  Maybe you’ll be able to use this expression soon in polite company.



The Greatness of Humanity

How can humanity be made great?  In today’s Thoughtful Thursday quote, Mahatma Gandhi tells us.

“The greatness of humanity is not in being human, but in being humane.”


These 2 Kids Brightened MY Day!

He’s 10 and she’s 7.  Together–they are make beautiful, uplifting music!

That Kneeling is Actually Showing RESPECT

I don’t get it.  Why are people upset at athletes (and now others) kneeling on one knee during the National Anthem? No, this isn’t me taking sides politically.  I just happen to know the historical significance of that act.

Look at the times when, traditionally, a person kneels on one knee: when a man proposes marriage, when a person is being knighted, and, for Catholics, when entering a pew at church.

In each case, the one-knee kneeling–whether briefly or for a longer time–is done to show respect and a willingness to submit.  The man shows he’s willing to merge his life with his future spouse.  The person being knighted shows his dedication to the Queen.  And the church-goer shows his acceptance of the power and majesty of God.

I see those athletes as respectful–people showing their respect for and devotion to their country, and their promise to America a better place for everyone.

Get Rid of Ants Naturally

Use natural substances to fight ants in your house.  Place one of these where they’re getting in (or just place along baseboards): bay leaves, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, salted cucumber peels, mint leaves, or tea from mint tea bags.

Leaf 6

[For more easy, money-saving, Earth-friendly tips, download a FREE copy of Green Riches: Help the Earth & Your Budget. Go to or your favorite e-book seller and download to your computer or e-book device. Totally free, with no strings attached.]

Follow-Up on Yesterday’s Quote

Roger Zelazny’s quote (yesterday’s Thursday Thought)  got me thinking about words and their effect. Including how they’ve touched me and my friends.  Here are my thoughts on the matter:

Stick and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me is a silly childhood chant.  When we grow up, we stop calling people names.  Or do we?  Hurtful names have crept into our everyday language and are so common that people don’t notice, except those people who are affected.  Call me over-sensitive, but as someone who has a physical disability, I’m offended when I hear a stupid act referred to as “lame.”  My friend has a similar reaction when that same act is called “gay.”  And the person doing the act?  He’s “so retarded.”  An unexplainable or seemingly strange action is “schtzy,” “psycho,” or “manic depressive.”  We talk about  the poor as “less fortunate” or “them,” somehow different from—and not as good as—us, and we call others “illegals,” stripping them of flesh and blood.  If we think before we speak, we can shred the sticks and crumble the stones that so often bruise us and return the dignity of humanity to others and ourselves.

Sticks, Stones, and Words

Sticks and Stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me. Remember that childhood chant?  How true is it? According to Roger Zelazny in today’s Thursday Thought quote, it’s words, not what may have actually been meant by them, that stick in our minds. Good reason to  think before we speak.

“No word matters. But man forgets reality and remembers words.”  —  Roger Zelazny, Lord of Light


Sailors Encouraged to Play with Xbox

Forget the legendary military absurd costs of $640 toilet seats, $660 ashtrays, $7,600 coffee-makers, and $74,000 ladders.  They’re getting it right on this one: Xbox controllers to operate periscopes on attack  submarines.

True, they’re less sturdy and may not last as long.  But at about $30 each, the Navy can afford to keep a case of them on board every sub.  They’ll replace the current Lockheed-Martin control, which costs $38,000 each, and do the job just as well.  Besides, there’s little training required, compared to the current controller, because who hasn’t used an Xbox controller?

Makes dollars and cents to me.


Start Your Week on a Positive Note

This  video (really a Japanese commercial) proves my philosophy of Small things count. You may need a tissue, especially at the end, when you see results.

I just felt like starting the week with something uplifting.

Why are we Being Picked On?

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, with Juan and Katia gaining steam.  8.1 earthquake in Mexico. Fierce, unusual winds and flooding.  Mother Nature is picking on us, as though we’ve been bad kids.  Why?  What could we possibly have done to upset her?! Maybe something to think about?