2020 kept all of us close to home and, as a result, inspired many homeowners to improve their property in a variety of ways. Yesterday, Ted and I couldn’t help noticing that our usual walking route is becoming increasingly kitschy. This might be a sign too much time at home.

The gnome lover in the last photo has barely begun, compared to what Ted and I saw in Townsville, Australia. Shhh! Don’t tell the neighbors where to buy more gnomes!

Yesterday, Hasbro announced that it is neutralizing Mr. Potato Head. Hasbro’s senior vice president and general manager announced, “The way the brand currently exists—with the ‘Mr.’ and ‘Mrs.’—is limiting when it comes to both gender identity and family structure.”

The outcry was loud:

Dr. D exclaimed, “For crying out loud–it’s a potato! It doesn’t have a gender!”

Media analyst Mark Dice tweeted, “It’s time for the Republican states to secede.”

Piers-Morgan tweeted, “Who was actually offended by Mr Potato Head being male? I want names. These woke imbeciles are destroying the world.”

Steven Colbert’s segment on Hasbro’s announcement asked, “What part of this do you see as gender-based?”

Sean Hannity tweeted, “MR POTATO HEAD 1953-2021, Hasbro: He Was ‘Limited When It Comes to Gender Identity’.” After Hasbro clarified that only the “Mr.” is being removed from the name and that Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head will be continue to be available as “just plain ‘Potato Head’,” Hannity responded, “Mr. Potato Head Lives!”

Long live non-gender potatoes!

Author’s note: When I was growing up, our Mr. Potato Head toy required actual potatoes; thus, the name of the toy. Complaints about rotten vegetables plus new government food safety rules prompted Hasbro to include a plastic potato body along with the facial parts in 1964.

Jeff wondered which of these jackets looked better on him.   Ted found the same jackets.  What do you think, Jeff?  Does it help to see them on someone else?

Flamingos?

Geometrics?

Or maybe the whole shebang with the matching pants and tie as well.(Note:  There was only one flamingo jacket left for Ted to try.  I can’t wait to see the owners of the other flamingo jackets wearing them around town.)

Albert Einstein was born March 14, 1879, making him a Pisces like me.  I’m sure that’s only one of the many amazing things Bertie and I have in common.  Today is the 62nd anniversary of Einsteins’ death.  To honor his unparalleled scientific mind, here are some things he said on subjects other than science.

I guess I’m not the only one who thinks about what “Grandma’s house” looks like to outsiders.  While the kids were here for my best birthday ever, we were gathered in the family room for conversation.  During the chitchat, Jeff brought up something he’s noticed over time.

Jeff:  “You know how old people’s houses always look dark and smell funny?”

Ted and me in our thoughts:  “Is he talking about us?”

Jeff:  “Well, your (i.e., our) house doesn’t.”

Ted and me:  “Whew!”

I think with the new, non-yellowed microwave, the light, and the lack of funny smells, our house passes the visitors’ litmus test.

As I was driving home from my volunteer time at school today, I noticed that there was some road construction work going on ahead of me.

A little farther down the highway, there was another sign.

Luckily, the left lane was closed at the point where the highway expands to three lanes, so we could all drive down the center lane.

On our flight to Seattle, there was an announcement from the cockpit.

“The captain has turned off the seatbelt sign, so you are now free to move about the cabin.  If you are seated, please remain seated with your seatbelt fastened.”

 

Ted and I went out to lunch today at one of our favorite restaurants.  The young woman who has been working as the cashier waited on us, so I asked if she has changed positions.  She said she has, and told us this is her third week waiting tables.  It’s her first week doing it on her own and the reason we haven’t previously seen her as a server, she said, is because she only works on Tuesdays.

Today is Monday.

Wehrenberg Theaters just started offering “$5 Movie Tuesdays.”  This might be in reaction to the long-running Regal Theater chain’s $5 Wednesday movies.  Wehrenberg, however, offers a bag of free popcorn for each ticket purchased, a perk not included at Regal.

Ted and I playfully wondered how the 46 oz. of popcorn would be measured.  Ounces can be a solid measure of weight (16 oz. = 1 lb.) or a liquid measure (16 oz. = 1 pint).  Since 46 oz. of liquid popcorn would be impossible, we assumed a measure of weight would be more likely and questioned whether the weight would be popped or unpopped corn–either being a huge amount of popcorn.  To cut the theater (and its advertising editors) a break, we decided it was probably reasonable to expect a container capable of holding 46 oz. of liquid (a little less than 1.5 quarts) to be filled with popcorn.

We would never eat that much popcorn together at a sitting, never mind one serving per ticket holder.  Still, imagine our surprise when we saw that the 46 oz. of free popcorn was handed to us in a bag with a volume slightly greater than that of a 12 oz. can!

46 oz? I think not.

46 ounces in that bag?  I think not.

I asked the server how they measured the 46 oz. and he told me that it’s a “new measurement” and is actually a “measure of value.”  So theaters can now set new measurement standards?  And what on earth is a “measure of value” in a food product?

Oh, well, the movie was good and that 46-ounce measure of value amount was plenty of popcorn for us to share as a snack.

Just wondering:  What if this is one of those ubiquitous editing errors I keep finding, and no one at Wehrenberg noticed it was supposed to read 4 point 6 oz. of free popcorn?  That certainly would have been closer to the actual measurement.

Today, every natural language that has words for colors identifies two to twelve basic colors.  English identifies eleven.  Do you know what they are?  If you want to quiz yourself, do it now, before reading the text below.  Hint:  Indigo is not one of them.

In early times, the only colors that were identified were bright (white) and dark (black).  As time went on, red became a recognized color.  The next two identified colors were green and yellow (or yellow, then green), followed by blue.  All languages that distinguish colors have these six colors.  Interestingly, these six colors roughly correspond to the sensitivity of the retinal ganglion cells.  This indicates that development of color identification might be related to biology.

Brown, orange, pink, purple, and gray were the next colors to appear as color names, but not in any particular order.  People started identifying pink and purple as colors from pinks (dianthus flowers) and from Tyrian purple, the dye that became the royal color (wearing the purple).  Orange is a color mystery.  Was the fruit named for the color, or the color for the fruit?  At this point, there’s no way of knowing.

The eleven colors identified in English are black, white, red, green, yellow, blue, brown, orange, pink, purple, and gray.  Italy, Greece, and Russia name azure as the twelfth color.  Other color names may be used in a language, but they are considered to be derivatives of the basic colors.  Languages and cultures are selective when deciding which hues to split into different colors, based on how light or dark they are.

“I learned this from the Grammarly blog” said grammar-nerd Diane, wearing a teal-colored shirt (derived from blue).

Where was waterproof fabric invented?

Clues:  A raincoat is called a mackintosh in Britain.  It rains a lot in Britain.  (Been there.  Experienced that.)  “Mac”-intosh.  (Scottish name.)

Right!  Charles Macintosh of Scotland invented rubberized fabric and first sold the coats in 1824.  Mackintosh (with a k) is the accepted alternate spelling for the coat.  Trust Google to commemorate this with a doodle.

 

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Gasoline tanks unearthed from the QT next door to the old Paul’s Donuts shop (also demolished).

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Contradiction?  The small sign attached to the fence says “Danger–Hard Hat Area.”

Jeff’s blog today touts the trivial fact that one buttload = 126 gallons.  He challenged readers to look it up, so I did.  The first thing I discovered was the amazing number of unusual units of measurement that can be found on the same Google search page as “buttload definition.”  As Jeff wrote, “It’s true. Look it up.”

To expand on Jeff’s newfound knowledge, I learned that the size of a buttload varies by country, and that two hogshead make one butt (or pipe), and two butts make one tun of wine or alcohol/beer.

Now we know.

From which state that is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean can you call a state that is bordered by the Pacific Ocean at the same clock time during the change from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time?  (Limit yourself to the lower 48 states.)

Fact:  There are actually some “calling parties” between these two states to celebrate the one hour each year that it is possible to do this.

Fact:  This is not a trick done with mirrors.

Do you need some help?  Here’s an example:  Daylight Time ends at 2:00 am, when it becomes 1:00 am Standard Time.  Pretend you want to make the call at 1:15 am.  In which two states, bounded by the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans as described above, can you make the call at 1:15 am in both states?

The answer is below the picture.  Cover the rest of this page if you don’t want to see the answer until you figure it out.

This is me relaxing in Paris while I wait for you to get the right answer.

This is me relaxing in Paris while I wait for you to get the right answer.

Answer:  You can make a call from western Florida (e.g., Pensacola, Panama City) where Central Daylight Time has changed to Central Standard Time, to eastern Oregon (e.g., Ontario), which is still on Mountain Daylight Time, at the same clock time for one hour during the change from Daylight to Standard Time.

Yesterday, as we were driving back from LaCrosse, WI, we stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts for a snack.  I think the last time I had a Dunkin’ Donut was while I was in college.  Not much has changed, except that the company has become more environmentally conscientious.  Or has it?  The paper towel dispenser is right beside the air dryer which has a message telling the user that it is better for the environment than paper towels.  I guess it’s a “you choose” situation for the user.  Either way, Paul’s Donuts wins by a landslide.

 

“What day is it?” asked Pooh.

“It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.

“My favorite day,” said Pooh.

I’m reading a different book today.  It’s nearly Thanksgiving in New York City and the big parade is coming up.

“Talk about crazy,” says the lead character.  “Who wants to jump into that crowd?”

“Thousands,” replies her husband, “or it wouldn’t be a crowd, would it?”

On “Wheel of Fortune” tonight, Pat Sajak and Vanna White had their usual post-show chat.

Pat:  Today is March 2.

Vanna:  Yes, it is.

Pat:  If it wasn’t a Leap Year, today would be March 3.

What can you say when it’s true?  Not much gets past Pat!

On the news tonight, there was a report about the Zika virus.  We were assured that those in the St. Louis area who have contracted the disease were infected as a result of traveling to areas in which Zika is endemic.  In St. Louis, Zika is a concern, however, partly because, as the reporter said, “At least one mosquito native to this area is a known carrier of Zika.”

One mosquito???!!!  There’s one mosquito to worry about???!!!