Uncle Josh Fixes the Olympics and Saves a Nation

That’s one hell of a promise in the title, isn’t it? It’s a big idea that will take a lot of planning but I think it not only can work, it can be a huge benefit to the world in general and Greece in particular. It’s commonly accepted that Rio was not ready for 2016. Swimmers should not be told “don’t touch the water because it’s nasty”. The poor shouldn’t be kicked out of their homes to make way for Olympic villages. This is a common problem with other Olympic venues. I’d have to look it up, but I think I remember hearing that very few host countries make money on the Olympics because of the temporary costs associated with running things and building things and occasionally violating people’s civil rights (assuming they have any in the host country). It would be a lot more efficient if there was one Continue reading Uncle Josh Fixes the Olympics and Saves a Nation

Uncle Josh on Fear in the American Commons

In the world of jokedom, the 12:30 AM phone call is the teenager out after curfew with the family car, calling to say there was an accident. Dad immediately asks “How’s the car.” It’s not a funny a joke, but it is telling about what the Dad of Jokedom fears more than the potential loss of a child or even injury to that child: Loss of the family car. Why? Because without the car Dad has to go to work on Public Transportation, which may add an hour or two to his day. (My personal record: 5 hours on public transportation back and forth for a 4-hour work shift.) But also the cost of repairing the car on a tight budget may mean “no vacation this year” or “no meals out this month” or “no mortgage payment this month” which leads to living in smaller and smaller apartments for possibly Continue reading Uncle Josh on Fear in the American Commons

Uncle Josh Empties the Tank

I have been lax on my strength training lately. By lately, I mean the past two years or so. I get a good run of a week, maybe a month, of consistent workouts and then it stops, and I start over sometime later, usually by pushing myself too far too fast. Too far too fast is pretty much how I feel after trying the 500-Rep Unloaded Barbell Challenge from Men’s Health. I’m no longer a MH reader, but this linked entered my world and I thought I’d give it a try to kick start myself back into training. Yeah, stupid move for a fat guy two months shy of his 45th birthday. I’m not in great shape, and I’ve never been aerobic. We walked 600 feet to Starbucks after the movie yesterday and it hurt like hell. But, being an idiot, I tried this challenge. Everything is done with a Continue reading Uncle Josh Empties the Tank

Uncle Josh Crunches Some Numbers

I guess it has been a couple of weeks since starting the data gathering, and Stephanie is out of town this week, so I should probably look at some the numbers I did collect. What else am I going to do, clean the kitchen? My goal of first starting by comparing 5 full years from “back then” to 5 full years of “just now” aren’t coming along as well as I’d hoped because data for the 30’s and 40’s is sparse. I plugged my data into Google Sheets which has some cool graphing features I didn’t know about until I asked for a graph. Here are the high temperatures for 2011-2016: It’s more of a saw curve than I’d expect. Here is the Daily Delta for that time period: This is the sort of noise I expected to see. The Delta is simply (Tomorrow’s High)-(Today’s High). I included the high Continue reading Uncle Josh Crunches Some Numbers

Uncle Josh Posits a Theory about Climate Change

This week started fairly warm. On Thursday the local high dropped by 12 degrees, and jumped up 19 on Friday. Overall it “warmed up 7 degrees in two days” but we experienced 31 degrees of change. I wondered if this sort of thing was happening more frequently than it had in the past, which could illustrate for me the effect of climate change. I like to call it Climate Destabilization, because I think it’s a more accurate term and while man-made climate change is real and happening, it’s a political shibboleth that is only denied by the ignorant or people paid by the oil industry. I don’t want to be ignorant. I want to know. I want to see the data myself. Fortunately, I have the tools to ask myself key questions and derive some answers from them. And I want to share it, because I’m that kind of guy. Continue reading Uncle Josh Posits a Theory about Climate Change

Uncle Josh on Sacred and Commercial Holidays

This morning Stephanie endured a bit of my decaffeinated rambling on the way to work about how we name our days and holidays. It started when she described a text-based conversation with a friend who forgot that this is Holy Week and a Very Busy Time for those of us in church choirs and altar guilds. Then Stephanie mentioned that this friend doesn’t call Easter “Easter” but “Resurrection Day” and that sounded very strange to me. Almost secular. Commercial, even. And that’s the start of this strange ramble. First, I acknowledge there is some hypocrisy to naming the most important Christian Holy Day after a pagan European fertility goddess, but that wasn’t really the point. I also realized that all our names for the day of the week are pagan in nature. Again, not the point but a mere pair of digressions that I usually spout off before getting to Continue reading Uncle Josh on Sacred and Commercial Holidays

Broadway Night 2016 Wrap Up

We survived Broadway Night 2016! This is our annual fundraiser for the music program at church. We do two shows of Broadway musical numbers. We had 20 songs done by the ensemble and soloists. I got to sing “Suppertime” from You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown right before dinner, and Stephanie and I did a duet on “As Long As You’re Happy” from Nick and Nora. But the most fun I had with the whole shebang was writing the emcee¬†script. Researching the plays is kind of tedious, but getting to piece together everything into one continuous script was a joy. I love this kind of word crafting and wish my regular writing could be this fun. Some of my personal favorites: When you’re single and looking for love, especially as a supporting cast member in a musical, you may feel like Cupid is using you as a perch instead of Continue reading Broadway Night 2016 Wrap Up

Uncle Josh Contemplates the Dark Side [Spoilers for Star Wars The Force Awakens]

This is one of my stocking stuffers this year. It’s designed by ArtFolds and it is almost two hundred pages of folding and dialogue from the movies. At the point pictured above, I have read through the prequel trilogy in quotes. At one point, reading this and folding paper has been a strange meditation on my current work in progress (it helped a lot, actually), the prequel trilogy, and The Force Awakens. Something that has never been made clear in the movies is any explanation why some people are connected to the force and some aren’t, and why Hutts and Toydarians are immune to Force-fueled mental suggestions. (Midichlorians, you say? I deny they exist. They aren’t needed and open rather ugly doors). One thing I remember about the early drafts is the Force was a thing, a physical thing that gave the wielder power. It was a prop. I think Continue reading Uncle Josh Contemplates the Dark Side [Spoilers for Star Wars The Force Awakens]

Uncle Josh Considers the Life and Times of Clara Oswald

Doctor Who is one of a few shows I actually watch these days, and for several years I’ve been happy with the latest companion Clara Oswald. I like Clara. I think she’s a great companion. I think she has the potential to be the Sarah Jane Smith of this generation. Of course, they’ve thrown that all away with Face the Raven, the 10th episode of series 9. I will miss her. I don’t understand the anger with the character. Most of the criticisms fall under the “she has no character arc” banner. When we first met her, she was Souffle Girl, and then the Impossible Girl arc started, with two deaths for the character before we met the modern Clara. Yes, throughout the second half of Series 7 she was the mystery. As the franchise built up to the 50th anniversary they explained the Impossible Girl. It was a clever Continue reading Uncle Josh Considers the Life and Times of Clara Oswald

Uncle Josh Turns to the Hymnal

I have found it hard to put things to words lately. This is making NaNoWriMo difficult, my online writing class an impossibility, and any sane reaction to the Paris attacks beyond all hope. But today the processional hymn managed to give me words: O God of every nation, of every race and land redeem the whole creation with your almighty hand; where hate and fear divide us and bitter threats are hurled, in love and mercy guide us and heal our strife-torn world.   From search for wealth and power and scorn of truth and right, from trust in bombs that shower destruction through the night, from pride of race and nation and blindness to your way, deliver every nation, eternal God, we pray!   Lord, strengthen all who labor that we may find release from fear of rattling saber, from dread of war’s increase; when hope and courage falter, Continue reading Uncle Josh Turns to the Hymnal